Sidecard: New Website to Support Accessible Film Screenings for Deaf and Blind Audiences

© Sidecard
August 2022


New Website to Support Accessible Film Screenings for Deaf and Blind Audiences UK Wide

A new website designed to make cinema more accessible to Deaf and Blind audiences has launched in the UK.

Sidecard is a searchable database, which records details relating to film access materials, such as subtitle and audio description files.

The site, which is the first of its kind (in the UK), is intended to improve and promote accessibility, encourage learning and resource sharing across cinemas, film festivals and the wider film exhibition sector. The project is supported by BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery.

Charlotte Little, Access Consultant and member of Sidecard’s working group, explains:

‘Descriptive subtitles completely transform my viewing experience and having a database like Sidecard, to refer audiences and practitioners to, will be of huge significance in the ongoing journey to standardise accessibility within film exhibition.’

The site, a joint project of Matchbox Cine, Inclusive Cinema, Film Hub Wales, Film Hub Scotland and Independent Cinema Office, will invite users to upload details of subtitle and audio description files made to support accessible screenings and disc releases. Sidecard will also host glossaries and tailored guides to support distributors, exhibitors and film-makers to learn practically about making films more accessible.

Sidecard is named for the separate “sidecar” files that are created to make screenings and home viewing accessible to Deaf and Blind audiences. No such files will be hosted on the site, but their details will be logged – who made them, who commissioned them, against what version of what particular film – and contact details provided, so that whoever might want to make further use of them can request the materials and permission to use them.

Megan Mitchell, Inclusive Cinema Project Manager for BFI FAN explains:

‘Sidecard will support exhibitors, and those across the sector keen to support diverse audiences, to more easily find and share accessible versions of films. With exhibitors, especially mid-sized festivals and smaller exhibitors within Scotland, having made a considered effort to increase accessible screenings for Deaf and disabled audiences over the past few years, Sidecard aims to facilitate a collaborative sector wide effort to allow exhibitors to ensure all audiences have access to great films.’

The project was supported by BFI FAN – a UK-wide network made up of national and regional Hubs which seek to ensure the greatest choice of cinema is available to everyone across the UK. Inclusive Cinema is part of BFI FAN and coordinated by Film Hub Wales. 

Caiff dros £30M ei godi bob wythnos i achosion da ar draws y DU gan y Loteri Cenedlaethol.

– Ends –

Matchbox Cine is an independent film exhibitor, specialising in cult film, and an award-winning subtitler, specialising in access provision for film exhibition & distribution. They programme, curate and promote film events across the UK, while also working with festivals, film-makers, venues and distributors to produce access materials for all professional contexts.

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Am Canolfan Ffilm Cymru:

Mae Canolfan Ffilm Cymru (CFfC) yn dathlu sinema. Rydym yn cefnogi cyrff sy’n dangos ffilmiau – o wyliau ffilmiau i gymdeithasau a chanolfannau celfyddydau cymysg. Wrth gyd-weithio gyda dros 315 o arddangoswyr ein nod ydy cyflwyno’r ffilmiau Prydeinig a rhyngwladol gorau i gynulleidfaoedd ar draws Cymru a’r DU. Ers sefydlu Canolfan Ffilm Cymru yn 2013 rydym wedi cefnogi dros 250 o brosiectau sinema cyffrous gan gyrraedd dros 480,000 o aelodau cynulleidfa.

We’re part of a UK wide network of eight hubs funded by the British Film Institute (BFI) which form the Film Audience Network (FAN), with Chapter appointed as the ‘Film Hub Lead Organisation’ (FHLO) in Wales.

Rydyn ni hefyd yn falch o arwain ar strategaeth sinema cynhwysol DU ar ran FAN BFI.

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Am Sinema Cynhwysol

Inclusive Cinema is a UK-wide project from the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). It supports film exhibitors by countering cultural, systemic and physical barriers, with the aim of enabling everyone to participate in cinema. Exhibitors can access training, events and hundreds of resources on inclusivecinema.org – including a guide to dismantling structural inequality.  

Led by Film Hub Wales on behalf of BFI FAN, the project champions the network’s aims to bring British, international and independent film to audiences, working towards the BFI Diversity Standards.

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Am Rhwydwaith Cynulleidfa Ffilm BFI 

Gyda chefnogaeth cyllid y Loteri Cenedlaethol, mae FAN BFI yn ganolog i nod y BFI o sicrhau bod y dewis mwyaf o ffilm ar gael i bawb. Wedi’i sefydlu yn 2012 i adeiladu cynulleidfaoedd sinema DU ehangach a mwy amrywiol i ffilmiau Prydeinig a rhyngwladol, mae FAN yn gydweithrediad DU gyfan, unigryw sydd yn cynnwys wyth o ganolfannau a reolir gan gyrff a lleoliadau ffilm amlwg wedi’u lleoli’n strategol o amgylch y wlad. Mae FAN hefyd yn cefnogi datblygiad talent gyda Swyddogion Talent Rhwydwaith BFI ym mhob un o’r canolfannau yn Lloegr, gyda chenhadaeth o ddarganfod a chefnogi.awduron, cyfarwyddwyr a chyfarwyddwyr talentog ar ddechrau eu gyrfaoedd. 

Canolfannau Ffilm FAN BFI: 

  • Film Hub Midlands dan arweiniad Broadway, Nottingham mewn partneriaeth gyda Flatpack o Brimingham
  • Film Hub North dan gyd arweinyddiaeth Showroom Workstation, Sheffield, a HOME Manchester 
  • Film Hub South East dan arwieniad y Swyddfa Sinema Annibynnol 
  • Film Hub South West dan arweiniad Watershed ym Mryste
  • Film Hub Scotland dan arweiniad Glasgow Film Theatre 
  • Film Hub Northern Ireland dan arweiniad Queen’s University Belfast 
  • Canolfan Ffilm Cymru dan arweiniad Chapter yng Nghaerdydd
  • Film Hub London dan arweiniad Film London

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Am BFI 

Rydym yn elusen diwylliannol, dosbarthydd y Loteri Cenedlaethol a chorff arweiniol y DU ar gyfer ffilm a’r ddelwedd symudol. Ein cenhadaeth ydy:

  • Cefnogi creadigrwydd a chwilio am y genhedlaeth nesaf o adroddwyr stori yn y DU
  • Tyfu a gofalu am Archif Cenedlaethol BFI, yr archif ffilm a theledu mwyaf yn y byd
  • Cynnig yr amrediad ehangaf o ddiwylliant delweddau symudol DU a rhyngwladol drwy ein rhaglenni a’n gwyliau – ar-lein ac mewn lleoliadau
  • Defnyddio ei gwybodaeth i addygsu a dyfnhau gwerthfawrogiad a dealltwriaeth y cyhoedd
  • Gweithio gyda’r Llywodraeth a diwydiant i sicrhau twf parhaus diwydiannau sgrin y DU

Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Tim Richards.

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