Samantha guest blogging once again (I might as well take up permanent residence, I know!)
With thanks to Sarah Fones and Steven Ellis, who took all the hard work out of this post, and have tackled an issue that’s been bugging me for ages.
I’m blogging today to make Pesky People’s readers aware of a campaign that I think it very relevant.
Disabled people might be used to finding their entertainment options somewhat limited, when it comes to the cinema.
Subtitled or audio described showings of films are often at inconvenient times during the working week, making it hard for those who have a disability and a job to access these accessible screenings, and making it hard for any disabled person to get to an accessible screening if they want to go with friends, of an evening, to see a film.
But over the last few years, a worrying trend has crept into modern cinema. A trend which provided a further source of digital discrimination…
Or, to be more exact, 3D ONLY films.
3D has come and gone from cinema repeatedly since film began, a fad and a gimmick which seems to pass with time. Worryingly, this time, it looks like 3D is here to stay. Increasingly, cinemas are only showing films in 3D, or, at best, there are a few 2D showings at inconvenient times, like the accessible showings.
Indeed, it appears that distributors are intent on only distributing 3D prints of some films, removing all choice, and manipulating the figures, so it looks like 3D is popular, when actually, cinema goers had no choice. This, of course, is used as an argument to demonstrate the popularity of 3D, getting more films made and distributed in 3D, and we seem to be in an ever decreasing circle of exclusion.
Now, of course, this will affect a lot of disabled people, further limiting their choice. If, like me, you have a visual impairment and can’t see 3D, but 3D is the only thing on offer, you have to pay extra for an aspect you can’t access, and wear silly glasses for the privilege. 3D also makes the prints darker, making a film even harder to see. You also get to feel extra excluded from the experience when everyone around you is “ooh”ing and “ahh”ing at those big set pieces included specifically to showcase 3D. I can honestly say, it doesn’t make for a fun cinema trip, when you’re excluded from a major aspect like that.
But that’s probably the best case scenario. 3D might actually make you feel ill.
A lot of people, many of whom wouldn’t consider themselves disabled, report problems viewing 3D. Many, like me, simply can’t see it. Some find the picture is blurred and out of focus. Some people find it gives them headaches, migraines, watering eyes, or nausea. Some who already need to wear glasses in the cinema find the whole specs on top of specs thing most uncomfortable.
It seems that 6 million people in the UK alone, a huge 12% of the population, are unable to access 3D.
This makes it a serious issue, in terms of disability discrimination, digital exclusion, and a failure to provide reasonable adjustments, under the Equalities Act 2010.
And that’s before you consider all those who simply don’t like 3D, finding it distracting, or that it adds nothing to the film.
Which is why Sarah Fones started the Where’s my 2D campaign. Sarah has been doing some sterling work contacting cinema chains, movie distributors, MPs and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to tackle this issue of digital discrimination. You can find the campaign at wheresmy2d.org, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
I know that this issue will affect a lot of our readers, so people, disabled or not, pesky or not, go give Where’s my 2D some love!