June 11, 2003
America Online Makes Finding "MoPix" Movies a Click Away
Keyword MoPix a Shortcut to Movies, Showtimes and Theaters for Movie Fans with Hearing or Vision Loss
WGBH, Boston's public broadcaster and a pioneer in developing access technologies for use by audiences with disabilities, is proud and excited to announce that it has joined with America Online to enable movie fans to more easily find closed captioned and described films in their area. Finding Nemo, a Walt Disney Pictures Presentation of a Pixar Animated Studios film, is the inaugural film on the Keyword MoPix site, and is available at select theaters in the U.S. and Canada that have installed Rear Window Captioning and DVS Theatrical, systems which enable movie fans with sensory disabilities to enjoy movies with their friends and families during regular showtimes.
These systems, collectively referred to as MoPix® (or Motion Picture Access), already draw patrons with disabilities, their friends and family members into theaters. First installed in theaters in late 1997, nearly 100 films with closed captions and audio descriptions have now been released. These systems enable audiences with hearing or vision loss to enjoy feature films the day and date of a film's general release in theaters, and during regular showtimes.
The launch of the AOL Keyword MoPix site coincides with the release of Finding Nemo, the blockbuster film from Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios. The story about a curious young clownfish who has been taken from his home on the Great Barrier Reef to a fish tank in a dentist's office, triggering a wild rescue mission from his father, is already being compared to the best children's films ever made. WGBH and AOL are thrilled to enable children of all ages to find info about Finding Nemo with captions and descriptions near them.
Also in select theaters equipped with MoPix systems is the megahit Matrix Reloaded, X2- X-Men United, Down with Love, Bruce Almighty, Daddy Day Care and 2 Fast 2 Furious. Upcoming titles that will be made accessible by WGBH's Media Access Group include The Hulk, Charlies Angels 2: Full Throttle, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde, Seabiscuit and many more. A full list of upcoming titles can be found at AOL Keyword MoPix or at www.mopix.org.
How the MoPix systems workRear Window Captioning - The patented Rear Window® Captioning System displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display which is mounted in the rear of a theater. Deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons use transparent acrylic panels attached to their seats to reflect the captions so that they appear superimposed on the movie screen. The reflective panels are portable and adjustable, enabling the caption user to sit anywhere in the theater. The Rear Window System was co-developed by WGBH and Rufus Butler Seder of Boston, Mass.
DVS Theatrical DVS Theatrical® delivers descriptive narration via infrared or FM listening systems, enabling blind and visually impaired moviegoers to hear the descriptive narration on headsets without disturbing other audience members. The descriptions provide narrated information about key visual elements such as actions, settings, and scene changes, making movies more meaningful to people with vision loss. Here's a sample of the descriptive narration from Finding Nemo (Marlin, Nemo's father, has just engaged the help of sea turtles, led by Crush, on his quest to find Nemo):
Marlin peers behind Crush's shell. Hundreds of sea turtles swim together in the current. The red, orange, and brown-shelled turtles flap their long flippers and glide forward. The channel of swift moving water glows a light-greenish-blue and runs along the sea in a tube-like formation. Three tiny fish jump in and shoot forward. Crush looks back at Marlin. As the current blasts downward, Marlin clings to Crush's shell. They zoom around a bend, and Crush rolls into a three sixty turn. As the water calms, Crush glides onto his back and faces Marlin...
Rear Window reflectors and DVS Theatrical headsets are available at the theater's customer service desk. Theaters purchase a limited number of each, so it is a good idea to arrive about 30 minutes before show time to pick up the device and to avoid last minute lines and delays at the box office. There is no additional cost to patrons, just the price of a regular movie ticket.
Systems installed across North AmericaSelect first-run theaters in the US and Canada have installed these innovative access systems. Participating theater chains include: AMC Theatres , Loews Cineplex, National Amusements, Mann's, Crown Theaters and Famous Players theaters, the largest theater chain in Canada. Systems are also installed at themeparks and national park visitors centers such as Pearl Harbor.
Learn about captioned and described filmsWGBH sends e-mail postings every week (either late Thurs or early Fri) which contain information about accessible films, theater locations and showtimes for the coming week to consumers, organizations and listservs. These updates also include a short news section about new installations and films that are "coming soon" with cc and dvs. People can sign up to receive this weekly posting by visiting AOL Keyword MoPix or www.mopix.org, and linking to "Sign me up to receive updates about accessible films!"
About the Media Access GroupThe Media Access Group at WGBH is a non-profit organization with offices in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. The service group includes DVS, which has made television, film and video more enjoyable to viewers who are blind or visually impaired since 1990, and The Caption Center — the world's first captioning agency — founded in 1972. The third branch of the Media Access Group, the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media, is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. Members of the Group's collective staff represent the leading resources and experts in their fields. For more information about access services, visit the Media Access Group's Web site http://access.wgbh.org or call 617-300-3600.
About WGBHWGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer. More than one-third of PBS's prime-time lineup and companion Web content as well as many public radio favorites are produced by WGBH. Its best-known productions include NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, Antiques Roadshow, ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre, This Old House, Arthur, and Zoom on PBS and The World and Sound & Spirit on public radio. WGBH also is a pioneer in educational multimedia and in technologies and services that make media accessible to people with disabilities. Since its establishment in 1951, WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors, including Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards-- even two Oscars. For more information visit http://www.wgbh.org.
ContactMary Watkins, Media Access Group at WGBH