Hawaii makes cinema access compulsory

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Thursday, 7 May 2015 17:36pm

The US state of Hawaii has brought in state legislation to mandate the provision of captions and audio description (described as “descriptive narration” in the Bill) in all cinemas where the cinema operator has more than two locations (that is three or more separate cinemas or cinema complexes).

People seated in a movie theatre, facing the screen. Couple in foreground with box of popcorn resting in-between them

The law, which takes effect from 1 January 2016, requires open captioning and audio description to be provided on at least two screenings each week for each movie showing at the cinema. The only requirement is that the movie is showing for at least one week.

The new laws received strong community support, including from the Hawaii Deaf Surfers Association which called for the provision of open captioned sessions (the original house bill mandated closed captioning).

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