travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

I Have Seen a Movie with My Eyes Closed

August 16, 2014

Have you ever wondered how our friends with visual and hearing impairments enjoy movie? SM truly cares and “A Special Movie Screening for the Blind and Deaf” was hosted yesterday in SM The Block. I was invited to this very rare moment and for the first time I tried seeing experiencing a movie with my eyes closed.

The event was spearheaded by SM Cares, a division of SM Foundation, through its Program on Disability Affairs in partnership with SM Cinema, Deaf-Blind Support Philippines, MTRCB and CALL (Center for Advocacy, Learning and Livelihood).

Our friends who are blind and deaf were all excited, while I was mostly curious how SM would show and present the movie.

Click Read More to know more about the special movie screening for deaf and blind..

Before the big screen rolled Hugo.. we were first introduced to this program which is consistent with SM’s support in promoting inclusion rather than segregation.


Bien Mateo, Program Director of Disability Affairs of SM Cares and SM Supermalls VP for North Luzon said the event is also supported by various People with Disability Organizations including AKAP Pinoy, Philippine Blind Union, National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitaion of the Disabled (PFRD).

Last year, they first ran this special screening in SM Megamall, and because of the positive feedback, they are expanding the screening to other malls. They are also planning to make it a quarterly event. This year, the movies simultaneously shown were: Hugo (SM North EDSA), Life of Pi (SM City Baguio), Les Miserables (SM Davao) and Taken 2 (SM Iloilo).
The MTRCB also showed support on this project and shared that they would offer incentives to cinemas who support films with audio-description. They also intend to show infomercials and work with cable and digital satellite industries. 
To fully strengthened the partnership and support for this project, we have witnessed the MOA signing. 
The best part finally came.. the movie started rolling. I first noticed how a voice described the rolling stars that appeared in the screen and formed the logo of the Paramount pictures. Each scene is described as it is.. the boy, the girl, their reaction, what they do, where they go.. I closed my eyes for me to let my imagination picture the movie that is being shown in front of me. I experienced how our friends with visual impairment can enjoy the movie. 
For those who have hearing challenges, there is a subtitle in the movie that allow them to read the lines and script. I love that this also develops the language and vocabulary of those without disability.
To complete the entire film experience, SM Cinemas have been retrofitted with wheelchair slots. Film operators have been trained to set appropriate sound levels and light balance, assuring convenience and comfort for the audience of sensory movies. SM wishes to include individual seats with special hearing aids and screens for our blind and deaf friends. 
It is my first time to see the movie Hugo, and I saw it the way I usually see a film. I only closed my eyes for a good 5 minutes of the film. It is so visually engaging especially you have a cute little boy doing wonders with mechanics. I felt that this movie suits the theme and project well, as it talked about how one can live and see the reality in dreams. I love that the movie incorporates the history of film that truly brings a wonderment to every movie-goer.
I saw how everyone enjoyed the film and the experience. It made me think of the first time I have ever been inside a movie house. 
Thank you SM and SM Cinemas. I wish all movie houses would have special features for our friends who have visual and hearing impairments. I also hope that film makers would soon incorporate and include audio-description and sub-title to their films. 

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