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 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).

Description of image
Play video

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. 

On a national platform, 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. 

The Visible Cinema programme seeks to address failings in current cinema access provision and strives to develop access awareness and understanding in audiences. Moreover, in sharing what we learn with other cinemas, we strive to create a cultural shift in how cinemas programme inline with D/deaf film culture. 

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

Staff are BSL and Deaf awareness trained and this programme continues to educate, challenge and inspire the GFT team.

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 film and social event.
  • A captioned or subtitled film screening.
  • All dialogue outwith the film is BSL interpreted and all live speech is typed in large font on the cinema screen. 
  • After the film there is a social post film chat.
  • A ticket costs £6.50 per person.
  • A plain English synopsis of the film and the full range of captioned films happening at GFT are available on the night.
  • In additon to monthly Visible Cinema, 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 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 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 ©. View upcoming captioned events. (N.B we programme on a month to month basis, 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 regular information about Visible Cinema and further BSL and captioned events at GFT straight to your inbox;

  • Go to 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'. Tick Captioned and BSL Enewsletter and you'll get a tailored Enewsletter, straight to your inbox every month.

If yp hvae any queries please contact Jodie Wilkinson, Public Engagement Coordinator on or,

SMS (TEXT ONLY) PHONE 07783-083036 

or BSL users can contact GFT via Contact Scotland BSL, the online British Sign Language interpreting video relay service.

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.

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. 

Glasgow Film is the lead organisation for Film Hub Scotland, supporting a network of more than 160 film exhibitors serving Scotland's diverse population.

What’s On

Find upcoming Visible Cinema screenings here.

All Monday to Friday shows before 5pm have capacity capped at 50% (unless otherwise stated). All other screenings have full unlimited seating capacity (unless otherwise stated).

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