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Visible Cinema Club

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GFT, together with Film Hub Scotland (part of the BFI’s Film Audience Network) run a monthly accessible programme of film screenings enhanced for D/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 with spoken dialogue typed on our cinema screen (speech to text).

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Why is Visible Cinema important?

In recent years cinema exhibitors have made great strides to ensure their venues are accessible yet the provision for D/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 D/deaf and hard of hearing film culture. 

Scotland sharpened its vision in October 2015 when The Scottish Parliament passed the BSL (Scotland) Act making BSL a fully recognised language, followed by the UK's first BSL National Plan in 2017. 

1 in 5 people use BSL (Scotland Census 2011). The Deaf community see themselves as people within a linguistic minority not with a disability. For many hearing people, they may never have met a D/deaf person let alone see someone use BSL. 

Ahead of the curve in March 2015, GFT launched Visible Cinema, the first initiative of its kind in Scotland which enables BSL users and people with variable hearing loss the opportunity to enjoy a full cinema experience at an affordable cost. 

Visible Cinema champions cinema accessibility and provides opportunities for audiences to enjoy a range of films in a relaxed, social inclusive and welcoming environment.

Staff are BSL awareness trained and this programme continues to educate, challenge and inspire the GFT 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! I've managed to learn so much in just a couple of hours, so now wish to build on that.

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

What can I expect at Visible Cinema?

This enhanced accessible screening programme happens once a month.

We screen captioned films.

All dialogue outwith the film is BSL interpreted and all live speech is typed in large font on the cinema screen. 

After the film, we host a social post film chat.

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.

On a quarterly basis, we host Visible Cinema: RCS Curates in partnership with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's BA Performance in BSL and English students. At these events you will experience Deaf-led or Deaf interest films curated by the students plus facilitated conversation designed to entertain and support greater understanding of Deaf culture.

What is Open Captioning?

Open Captioning is a service for people who are D/deaf patrons and people experiencing varying degrees of hearing loss who require dialogue to be subtitled and additional auditory information displayed on the screen.

This service provides text in time with the audio from a film and this 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)".

Not all titles will be made available with captions due to the financial capacity of distributors to write, record and produce a separate disc which then can be played and projected at the same time as the film print.

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 Visible Cinema 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. Sign language differs profoundly from spoken languages with the sentence structures

British Sign Language (BSL) can be preferred language for Deaf people in the UK and for many children born D/deaf, English may be a second or third language.

The British Deaf Association state there are 87,000 D/deaf people in the UK and 151,000 people are BSL users. (This figure does not include professional BSL users, interpreters, and translators). 

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’ - as a defining characteristic.

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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Visible Cinema Hand Guide for exhibitors

Download our practical case study on how GFT strives to transform the cinema experience for D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences.

Thank you to the Independent CInema Office for their support.

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, deafscotland, 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).

Thank you to DWT Cargill Fund for supporting this project.

What’s On

Find upcoming Visible Cinema screenings here.

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