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Visible Cinema Club

GFT, together with Film Hub Scotland (part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network) run a monthly accessible programme of film screenings enhanced for deaf and hard of hearing audiences.

Films shown throughout the year will be captioned or subtitled and the introduction and post film chat will be British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted and speech to text typed on our cinema screen.

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Why is Visible Cinema important?

Visible Cinema is a prime opportunity for diverse and often segregated communities to come together. For many hearing people, they may never have met a Deaf person let alone see someone use BSL. 1 in 6 people use BSL. The Deaf community see themselves as people within a linguistic minority not with a disability. 

In recent years cinema exhibitors have made great strides to ensure their venues are accessible yet the provision for deaf audiences – while improving – has been less than ideal. 

The Visible Cinema Club programme seeks to address failings in current provision, and also seeks to build knowledge and understanding to create a cultural shift in how cinemas programme inline with deaf and hard of hearing film culture.

Begun in 2015 and the first initiative of its kind in Scotland, Visible Cinema champions cinema accessibility and provides opportunities for audiences to enjoy a range of films in a relaxed, inclusive and welcoming environment.

Staff are Deaf awareness trained and this programme has educated and inspired the team.

I think I learned more about deafness and the experience of engaging socially and culturally with deafness in the two hour long event at the GFT tonight than I had in my life prior to it. And if I managed to learn that much in just a couple of hours, it makes me realise I had known woefully little, and I now wish to build on that.

Hearing audience member who attended RCS Curates: Visible Cinema, November 2016

What can I expect at Visible Cinema?

Our enhanced accessible screening programme happens once a month.

All dialogue outside of the film is enhanced by BSL interpretation and all live speech is typed in large font on the cinema screen. 

A ticket costs £6.00 per person 

A plain English synopsis of the film and the other monthly captioned/subtitled films happening at GFT are available on the night.

What is Open Captioning?

Open Captioning enables people who are Deaf/hard of hearing and hearing to experience a film in a cinema environment. 

This service provides text in time with the audio from a film and is displayed at the bottom of the cinema screen and are of a higher quality to subtitles as Open Captions also detail all non-dialogue audio such as "(sighs)" “(singing)” or "(doorbell rings)".

What is a Speech to Text Service?

Speech to text service provides live subtitles to whatever is being voiced in the room. At GFT all events have speech to text provided to enhance the introduction and post film discussions. The text appears on the cinema screen. In large font and can be seen comfortable from anywhere in the cinema 3 auditorium.

What is British Sign Language?

BSL is a visual-gestural language with a distinctive grammar using handshapes, facial expressions, gestures and body language to convey meaning used by many people who are profoundly Deaf/hard of hearing

The British Deaf Association state there are 151,000 BSL users currently in the UK and 87,000 of these people are Deaf. (This figure does not include professional BSL users, interpreters, and translators). In 2003 BSL was recognised as a minority language and in 2015 Scotland passed the BSL(Scotland) bill making BSL a fully recognised language.

The Deaf community are mainly made up of those whose first or preferred language is BSL. The Deaf community is a vibrant society; culturally proud and consider the importance of their deaf identity - the use of the big ‘D’ is a defining characteristics.

How can I keep up-to-date with the Visible Cinema programme?

If you are booking online all captioned events are clearly marked with a C. Anyone curious can join our facebook group to keep up-to-date on Visible Cinema screenings and to watch BSL trailers for all events.

For those who prefer reading our monthly brochure - this has all accessible screenings listings inside the back page.

View upcoming captioned events.

For more information about Visible Cinema or to be added our dedicated access newsletter please contact Jodie Wilkinson, Public Engagement Coordinator on or 0141 352 8608.

Watch a video of Visible Cinema's screenings of Power in Our Hands, a documentary about the recognition of British Sign Language (BSL) and Deaf rights.

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Programme Overview

This project was developed as part of Creative Scotland’s Promoting Equalities Programme. A huge thank you is given to everyone who has supported this project through its pilot year, including Creative Scotland, Solar Bear, Film Hub Scotland, Action on Hearing Loss, Deaf Connections and focus group participants.

GFT and Film Hub Scotland will continue to promote advocacy for deaf and hard of hearing audiences within the wider film industry and community. The learning from the pilot scheme will enable GFT to develop the tools, knowledge and methodology to deliver a high quality, engaging programme of film for deaf and hard of hearing audiences. Film Hub Scotland aims to use this model and roll out similar film clubs throughout cinemas across Scotland.


Film Hub Scotland

Film Hub Scotland is part of the Film Audience Network; a BFI-funded initiative to build a network of film exhibitors – from film societies to multiplexes and everything in-between – to increase the reach, depth and breadth of independent British and specialised film. 

They provide Hub members with a range of funding opportunities, screening programmes, training and networking events and audience research, helping Scotland’s exhibitors to reach as many new and existing audiences as possible. 

Film Hub Scotland is led by Scottish Film which comprises: two cultural cinema organisations (Centre for the Moving Image & Glasgow Film), Scotland’s cinema development agency (Regional Screen Scotland), and two multi-arts organisations (Dundee Contemporary Arts & Eden Court).

What’s On

Find upcoming Visible Cinema screenings here.

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