Image for Visible Cinema

Visible Cinema

Watch our Visible Cinema trailer to learn more about the programme:

Description of image
Play video

Films shown throughout the year will be captioned or subtitled followed by a post-film discussion with integrated British Sign Language (BSL) and live captions (speech-to-text).

Description of image
Play video

Why is Visible Cinema important?

Visible Cinema is a d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing friendly film programme.

d/Deaf distinction:

The word deaf is used to describe or identify anyone who has a severe hearing problem. Sometimes it is used to refer to people who are severely hard of hearing too.

Deaf with a capital D refers to people who have been deaf all their lives, or since before they started to learn to talk. They are pre-lingually deaf and and so 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.

What is British Sign Language (BSL)?

Most Deaf people who use sign language in the UK speak their reginal variation of British Sign Language (BSL) as their first language. BSL is a visual-gestural language with a distinctive grammar using handshapes, facial expressions, gestures and body language to convey meaning. It has its own grammar and is structured in a completely different way from English. The Deaf community see themselves as people within a linguistic minority not with a disability.

Approximately, 1 in 5 people speak British Sign Language (BSL). For many hearing people, they may never have met a d/Deaf person let alone see someone speak BSL.

Scotland sharpened its vision in October 2015 when The Scottish Parliament passed the BSL (Scotland) Act making BSL a recognised language, followed by the UK's first BSL National Plan 2017-2023.

Ahead of this landmark change, in March 2015, GFT launched Visible Cinema: the first initiative of its kind in Scotland which champions cinema accessibility. As priority, this year-round programme offers d/Deaf BSL speaking people and people with variable hearing loss the opportunity to enjoy a cinema experience at an affordable cost in a relaxed and socially inclusive environment. Everyone is welcome.

Front of House staff and volunteers are BSL and d/Deaf awareness trained.

Thank you to signhealth.org.uk and rnid.org.uk.


This programme was brilliant. Such high quality which is what we need to see more of coming from Deaf professionals. Please more of this!

Deaf audience member who attended Visible Cinema at Glasgow Film Festival 2019

What can I expect at Visible Cinema?

  • A d/Deaf-friendly and HoH-friendly film and social event.
  • Front of House staff and volunteers are BSL and d/Deaf awareness trained.
  • A captioned or subtitled film screening.
  • All dialogue outwith the film is BSL interpreted and live captioned on the cinema screen.
  • After the film there is a social post-film chat.
  • A ticket costs £6.50 per person.
  • Accessible seating/enhanced audio headsets are available on request prior or at time of booking. Contact details are in the next section.
  • A plain English synopsis of the film and the full range of captioned films happening at GFT are available on the night.
  • In addition, 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 are captions?

Captioning is a service for people who are D/deaf patrons and people experiencing varying degrees of hearing loss who require dialogue and off-screen sounds to be subtitled 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 captions also detail all non-dialogue audio such as "(sighs)" “(singing)” or "(doorbell rings)".

Not all titles will be made available with captions format 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.

GFT ensures that every film programmed has the captions format checked with the distributor. If this format is available to us, then captioned screenings of the film are programmed.

What is live captioning?

Live captioning or speech-to-text, is live text of dialogue voiced in the room. At GFT all Visible Cinema events has live captioning provided to ensure that each event introduction and post film discussion is accessible. The text appears on the cinema screen, in large font and can be seen comfortably from anywhere in the auditorium.


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 © on the film/s start time. You can view upcoming captioned events here. (N.B we programme on a monthly basis so only the upcoming/current month's listings will be published).
  • Join our facebook group to keep up-to-date on Visible Cinema screenings and to watch BSL trailers for all events.
  • View our brochure online here - accessible screenings listings are inside the back page.

For recieve regular information about Visible Cinema and other BSL and captioned events at GFT emailed to you:

  • Go to www.glasgowfilm.org/enewsletters. Create an account with us or if you already have an account click 'I already have an account with GFT please update my details' and log in;
  • The next page will say 'I'm interested in' so tick Captioned and BSL Enewsletter and you'll get a tailored Enewsletter, straight to your inbox every month.

If you have any queries please contact GFT either by email: access@glasgowfilm.org, by phone: 0141 332 6535or BSL users can contact GFT via contactSCOTLAND-BSL, the on-line British Sign Language interpreting video relay service. Find out more at www.contactscotland-bsl.org

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.

Description of image
Play video

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.

What’s On

Find upcoming Visible Cinema screenings here.

As per Scottish Government restrictions, seats available for all shows from 27 December to 23 January will be capped to meet the 1m social distancing requirement.

banknote calendar-02 calendar close down-chevron facebook filter google-plus left-arrow-02 mail play-icon right-arrow search shopping-basket small-play-icon tick twitter up-arrow