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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Celebration Cinema Presents Open Captioning

Feb 14, 2022 11:44AM ● By Two Eagles Marcus

Grand Rapids, MI.  (February 14, 2022)   

Celebration Cinema Theatres are piloting a new offering of public, open-captioned showtimes, beginning February 20 at Celebration Cinema Rivertown in greater Grand Rapids and Celebration Cinema Crossroads in Portage.  Open Captioned (OCAP) shows will be offered on Sunday afternoons and evenings, with an OCAP presentation of each new wide release movie.

Open captioned movies are presentations for which dialogue captioning shows up directly on the screen for the whole audience to see.  Closed captioning, which requires the use of special devices, will continue to be available for almost all movie presentations throughout the week.

“We offer movie-going experiences that provide enjoyment and meet the needs of our community,” says Emily Loeks, Director of Community Affairs. “We are always looking for the best ways to expand on that.  Open captioning provides greater comfort and enjoyment for some audiences, including deaf & hard of hearing community members, and some for whom English is a second language.”  

Celebration Cinema has partnered with regional organizations to present open captioned shows for private groups for a number of years.  “Our weekly, local OCAP movies have been popular,” says Tanya Timmerman, of Kalamazoo Area Deaf Night Out. “This new pilot of more regular, public shows is a move in a great direction, breaking down barriers and providing more comfortable access.  We are beyond thrilled and look forward to the positive impact it will have on the Deaf community as well as others who appreciate open captioning.”

Local nonprofit Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services (D&HHS) has provided valuable consultation services and plans to host one of the first Sunday shows.  Executive Director Deb Atwood says that the Celebration Cinema pilot of open captioned shows lines up with work her organization has been doing for more than a quarter of a century. “We were thrilled to be asked by Emily and her team to provide our expertise in this area, and we look forward to the roll-out of this new initiative."

For the pilot, all wide release movies in their first two weeks of engagement will be programmed with an open captioned show on Sunday afternoon or evening. Open Captioned shows will be marked clearly on the website and at the box office with the attribute OCAP.  Celebration Cinema anticipates expanding the offering to additional theatres and markets on time for summer movies.