The Kansas City HLAA Chapter is advocating for captioned movies at local theaters. Our first effort was a meeting today with Dan Glennon, manager at the AMC Studio 30 theater in Olathe, KS. Representing the KC HLAA Chapter were Terri Shirley and Shanna Groves.
It appears Studio 30 theater will likely be the first AMC location to provide captioned films in Kansas City that supports all-digital movies. Formerly, captioned movies were on 35-milimeter film. The new digital technology vendors are now playing catch-up with making sure these films are rearview captioned (reflective screen technology, known as “RW”) and open captioned (subtitles, known as “OC”).
Glennon said he is on board with providing captioned film choices. However, the delay in providing the captioning service is coming from other sources: movie studios producing and delivering OC films, outside vendors providing necessary technology for RW-captioned digital films, and corporate support.
During the meeting, Glennon was presented with hearing loss and Deaf community statistics, compiled by HLAA Supporter Sandra Kelly, executive director of the Deaf Cultural Center in Olathe. This info included the following:
* Though no one maintains the statistics on hearing loss of adults in the area, because the school for the Deaf is located in Olathe [and has been since 1866], there is a significantly larger population of individuals with hearing loss that live in the area.
* It has been estimated that there may be several thousand Deaf individuals in the Greater Kansas City area. This does not include individuals who are considered hard of hearing.
* There is an estimated 34-37 millions individuals in the US with hearing loss significant enough that it affects their daily lives.
* Of these individuals, 2/3 of them are under the age of 65.
Hearing loss within a family affects everyone, not just the person with the loss. Family members [without the hearing loss] are very aware of businesses and organizations that are supportive of this challenge. It is not only the person unable to hear that is considered the consumer. It includes his family, co-workers and others aware of the support from businesses.
* Visitors to the Deaf Cultural Center have come from every state in the Union, as well as, many countries from around the world. Our numbers have more than tripled from three years ago. It would be difficult to estimate how many of these people have hearing loss, but I would estimate at least 50%. Again, it is the family and friends of Deaf / Hard-of-Hearing individuals who often accompany these folks.
90% of Deaf children are born into Hearing families. Parents of these children are looking for equal access to entertainment.
* Last year Olathe was identified in an online survey [Deaf411.com] as one of the most Deaf Friendly communities in the Midwest. This is a ‘draw’ to people around the country.
The KC HLAA Chapter will follow up with AMC and other local theaters’ progress in provided captioned movies and will post updates here.