Watching movies in cinema is not a big deal to many hearing cinema goers. However it is different story for Deaf. The first questions we, Deafies would ask, “Got English subtitles?” when we learnt that the movies were English speaking. For many years, we did ask the cinema operators to caption the movies for the benefits of Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The answer came back, citing the high cost of captioning.
I first wrote to the GV Cinemas to screen the captioned movies when I was secondary school student. The most irony was that many movies are captioned in Chinese subtitles. Nobody knows exactly why the Chinese subtitles are widely available in the movie screenings. To me, there is probably a reason for putting up Chinese subtitles. However the audience in the cinema halls is always mixed with different races.
In May 2013, I was browsing the YouTube videos and came across the trailer of Star Trek Into Darkness with English Subtitles. It is still available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5gdbUC9mWU. Then I showed the video in the posting in the Deaf Singapore Facebook. I was thinking why should I show the Deaf fellows the trailer with English subtitles when the movie screening would not be shown in English subtitles.
The idea came to my mind. I went to Cathay Cinemas Facebook to make a simple request for the captioned movie of Star Trek Into Darkness. The reply came and said “We sincerely wish we can promptly accede to your request but we seek your understanding that inclusion / exclusion of subtitles is decided by the movie distributor and not movie exhibitors like Cathay Cineplexes. The movie distributor in this case is Paramount Pictures.”
Then I searched the internet and found United International Pictures Singapore Facebook and posted the same request. UIP Singapore responded by saying that my request was forwarded to the management. In few days later, the UIP Singapore came back to me with positive news, telling me that Golden Village was screening the captioned movie of Star Trek Into Darkness at GV Vivocity for 2 daily sessions. My jaw was dropped. Soon I circulated the news across to various Facebook groups and my personal Facebook.
One whole hall – GV Vivocity Hall 8 was booked under my name for Deaf and friends of Deaf to watch together on 18 May 2013. This was historic moment when the movie was playing with English subtitles, making the cinematic experience even more pleasing. I was grinning widely in my seat. I simply loved it. Finally I could understand and enjoy the movie.
Soon in June – July 2013, GV Cinemas continued to screen total of seven movies captioned by film distributors. Long wait for such captioned movies was over. Now I am stepping up to get the film distributors to continue captioning…