Open captions at the movies

BAR HARBOR — The Criterion Theatre is exploring how to help audience members with hearing challenges better enjoy movies.

In movie theatres, closed captions are typically only available vie in-seat personalized devices, Criterion staff said. The Criterion hopes to install such devices later this year.

Open captions, by contrast, are always in view. The screening of “Wreck it Ralph” on Sunday, Feb. 17 will include open caption service. It’s a pilot program for the theatre to gauge demand for open captioned movies.

“The Strand [in Rockland] is doing open captioning and we’re giving it a try,” said Amy Roeder, the theatre’s executive director. “Many folks in the deaf community feel that closed caption devices (required by law to be ADA compliant) are clumsy, unhelpful and ‘othering.’ So, in sensitivity to our customers with hearing challenges, we’re offering open captioning now and will offer both as soon as the new system is installed.”

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