Why is Closed Captioning Important?

When you go to the movies, you could be forgiven for not noticing if your session is a closed captioned one—more often than not, it isn’t. Australia has a long way to go when it comes to making our cinematic spaces more inclusive for people with hearing impairments, but when 1 in 6 Australians are hearing impaired, this means a big chunk of our population—about 4 million—are continually excluded from these spaces.

However, the Sydney Film Festival introduced their ScreenAbility program last year which endeavours to make the festival more accessible by offering closed captioning, and Auslan-interpreted introductions and Q&A sessions for films within the program—and hopefully this will inspire more cinemas and festivals to adopt these practices.

Stephanie Youssef spoke to People With Disability Australia‘s Director of Policy and Advocacy Romola Hollywood and Sydney Film Festival‘s Programs Manager Jenny Neighbour about the need for closed captioning and disability inclusivity.

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