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Experiencing films beyond the screen

By Wang Qian | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-12 07:03
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The Ever Shining Cinema charity program, which has added audio descriptions to reproduce nearly 600 films, participates in the Beijing International Film Festival as a permanent section in April 2019. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A charity program is producing barrier-free versions of movies for people with vision loss, Wang Qian reports.

When a looming collision with Jupiter threatens Earth as humans steer our planet like a rocket ship to search for a new star amid stellar effects and jaw-dropping sci-fi scenes in the blockbuster, The Wandering Earth, Ma Deli leaned forward and clutched the arms of her chair as the thrilling plot took grip of her.

"It felt like I was in the movie," says the 50-something, who totally lost her sight about a decade ago.

She was listening to the barrier-free film in a theater in Xichang, Sichuan province, in which vivid voice-overs narrated descriptions of scenes that enthralled Ma, who enjoyed her first such flick in September 2019. Since then, she and other people with vision loss have been able to attend screenings providing descriptions of the plots between dialogues on the fourth Sunday morning of every month across Sichuan.

The service is provided by the Ever Shining Cinema charity program, launched by the Communication University of China, Beijing Gehua CATV Network Co and Oriental Jiaying Media Co.

Over the past six years, nearly 600 films have been given such added audio descriptions and made available in 2,244 special education schools nationwide. More than 800 teachers and students have volunteered to produce these barrier-free versions.

"It is the seventh year of the project, through which we hope to bring (more experiences) to more people with vision loss, while raising public awareness of this group," says Fu Haizheng, vice-dean of the Research Institute on Information and Communication Accessibility affiliated with the Communication University of China in Beijing and an initiator of the program.

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