Sunday, January 8, 2012

Mission: Install DVS audio description services in at least one theater in Little Rock!

Most of you know by now what it audio description for the blind is, but you may not know that it can be very hard to get others, specifically movie theaters, to understand the need for this service. I recently asked our local theater to install DVS MoPix systems for my daughter and the many other blind population of the Little Rock area. However, I never heard back from the local staff manager on my first attempt. I then wrote their corporate office and to my surprise, got an answer! 

Here is the first email I wrote to the local theater address after never getting thru to a manager on the phone.

Dear Chenal 9 Imax Theatre,
My family and I frequently attend your theater to see all the latest movies, however my daughter Madilyn, age 6, is completely blind and is unable to get the full experience at your facility. Could you please install the MoPix DVS system to enable blind movie goers to enjoy your theater as much as my husband and I do. We would be more than happy to help raise awareness of the cause and even raise funds to get the technology installed in Little Rock. With the Arkansas School for the Blind also located in Little Rock, as well as World Services for the Blind and Lighthouse for the Blind, all in Little Rock, I'm sure we could make this happen.
I would love to talk more about the possibility with you. You can also check out WGBH MoPix online at to learn more about it, including costs, etc. Thank you for your kind consideration.
Hillary Welch Kleck(contact info removed for privacy)
Arkansas NAPVI, President
Sensory Sun Educational Technologies, Owner *******
After no reply I sent added this to the beginning of the first message and emailed to their corporate headquarters:

----- Original Message -----From: Hillary KleckSent: 12/19/11 11:10 PMSubject: Described Audio Services
I recently contacted the theatre directly, but was disappointed to never hear anything in reply. I hope by contacting Corporate , I will get an enthusiastic reply! THanks!(copy of first message)
Here was their response. I've highlighted the statements that I thought were 'interesting':
From: <DTMOVIES email address>
Date: Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 10:12 PM
Subject: RE: Described Audio Services
To: Hillary Kleck

Dear Hillary,

Thank you for your emails to our website concerning the MoPix DVS system.  I apologize for the delay in response to your inquiry.

We very much appreciate your patronage at our Chenal location, and your interest in securing MoPix DVS for the theatre.  As someone with hearing disability due to childhood illness, I well understand the challenges and frustration of navigating a world that doesn't always accommodate impairments.  Your letter shows great dedication and commitment toward addressing the needs of not only your daughter, but to others with sight impairments and I admire your willingness to be a much needed advocate.  The new technologies that have been developed are exciting!  With the latest hearing devices for my ears and units at the theatres, it's only been in the past six months that I actually experienced a true audio experience at a movie, after a forty year career in theatres.

Upon being provided your letter for response, I checked out the website you provided.  Our company is currently involved in a major undertaking to update all of our theatres to digital, as well as working our way through several theatre sales.  While we do understand the need to address the movie going experience of all of our customers, especially those who would benefit from impairment assistance technology, we aren't currently in a position to devote the time and resources needed to investigate the systems available and how the equipment we have in place, and are working to put into place, will coordinate with the various systems.  We would ask your patience as we work through this, as we have "all hands on deck" to work through our current projects.  I am providing your letter, contact information and website information to the head of our projection so that he also has it in hand as we move forward with future technology improvements.

Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront and for your offer to be a resource of information and assistance to us.  Best wishes to you and your family for good health and happiness in 2012 -

(name removed for privacy)
Dickinson Theatres

To facilitate a prompt response and the tracking of this comment, please reply using the link provided below. (link removed for privacy)
As you can probably tell, I am more than disappointed in their response. I have contacted a variety of people regarding the "digital" issue to find out more details. The other theater in our area, US Breckenridge 12 by Regal Cinemas, to follow up on a lead that they already had the system installed. However, after speaking with a manager that sounded as though he had more important things to do than talk with me about it, they too are "trying to figure out what to do since they switched to digital."

Is it just me or does the fact that it is digital sound like it could only be good for the idea of advanced technology such as DVS? I'm a bit confused and more than frustrated, but I'll continue the mission, hoping to bring others in our area on board, as well as inspire uprisings in different cities as well! I would love to know if you are on the same mission, or need a little help with your requests. Everyone can join the CAUSE here and advocate by emailing theater chains to tell them it is only fair for ALL to enjoy movies, not just the sighted. Closed caption services for the hearing impaired are fighting for their rights, too! Learn more on how to advocate on the MoPix website

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