Persistence pays off for Californian accessible cinema fan

Thursday, 31 January 2013 10:32am

A Californian teenager who lobbied his local cinema and council to get captioned movies shown at his favourite cinema complex has been rewarded and will now be able to enjoy his first movie on the big screen since he was four years old.

The Santa Monica boy, John Butchko, who is now 13, is looking forward to seeing The Life of Pi on the big screen after repeated approaches to the area’s largest cinema, AMC 7 Theatre, and city officials paid off. AMC 7 announced that it will provide closed captions on four of its seven screens using the Doremi CaptiView technology. 

Butchko’s efforts stemmed from a school assignment around community service coupled with his love of movies, even though he had to wait for captioned DVDs to come out or travel 50 kilometres to a cinema that provides the service. “Movies are a large part of the conversation in school, and if I haven’t seen them, I can’t participate in that,” Butchko said.

In January 2012, AMC announced an official commitment to deploy closed captioned technology across all its American complexes, commencing within 90 days of a cinema’s digital conversion. During his lobbying, Butchko discovered that AMC had already commenced digital cinema and installed the closed caption technology, but was told that technical difficulties prevented the display of movies with captions.

Through Butchko’s advocacy and support from Santa Monica City Council, the cinema has worked out an option to ensure captions are displayed immediately whilst sorting out formal technical arrangements for the long term.

Read more of Butchko’s story in the Santa Monica Daily Press.


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