By Brian McCallen, LightHouse guest blogger and volunteer
The Department of Justice (DOJ) just held three hearings on the Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs), containing changes to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) that call for upgrades in digital cinema equipment and increases in audio-described film offerings. According to published and broadcasted highlights, all three hearings in Chicago, Washington and San Francisco featured disability organizations, service providers and the general public.
At the San Francisco hearing, Marilyn Piepho, who spoke by phone, said that there are too few theaters in the country utilizing descriptive video service. Piepho recommended that the Department of Justice not only call for more movie theaters to add audio-described movies, but also use a test pattern with an audible tone to let people know that the film they’re watching has descriptions at the beginning of the show.
I tried to contact several small Northern California movie theaters, including Sierra Theaters in Grass Valley, about the possibility of their offering descriptive video service in the future. None of the theaters returned my emails or calls for comment.
Even though the hearings are over, you still have a chance to speak out about the proposed changes! The period for public comment continues until January 24th, 2011. To learn more, go to http://www.ada.gov/anprm2010/anprm2010_comment.htm. There, you’ll find the link “Movie Captioning and Audio Description.” Just click on the link, and type your name, address, email and comments inside the special box on the next page. You can upload a word processing document with your comments to the site as well.
So speak out and make your voice heard about these new and exciting changes to the ADA. And for all the information on the ANPRMs, log on to http://www.ada.gov/!