In a wonderful new development for disability rights, Minnesota is now the first state in the country to have a movie theater with 100% open captioning ALL THE TIME! St. Anthony Main Theaters in Minneapolis, MN now offers open captioning all day, every movie, every showtime, every day. Having open captions on every movie every day is truly unique. Usually the theaters that do offer open captions only offer them on certain days, at certain times, on certain movies. St. Anthony Main is a small neighborhood theater located on 115 SE Main Street in Minneapolis, MN across the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis.
For those unfamiliar, open captions are when the captioning appears on the screen visible to all viewing the movie. At movies without open captions someone who needs access to captions is required to use a device (different theaters have different accessibility features and captioning devices). For many who use captioning devices at movie theaters the devices can be cumbersome to use, don’t always work and technical issues can arise during the movie (interrupting the viewing experience). Viewing open captions on screen at a movie theater is similar to having closed captions turned on a TV. The viewer is able to pay better attention to the movie because they are not required to watch the captions on a separate device.
Open captions can make the movie-going experience more accessible for a wide variety of people, not just those with hearing loss or deafness. “This is a huge step in accessibility for hearing audiences and disabled movie goers. This significantly benefits multiple populations, including the deaf and hard of hearing, children learning to read, adults learning English as a second language, movie-goers with dyslexia, autism, Down syndrome, ADD/ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and learning disabilities” says Keenan Gao, a Minneapolis resident who negotiated the enhanced accessibility with support from Dr. Darlene Zangara, Executive Director of the Minnesota Commission of the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing (MNCDHH).
Keenan Gao and Lilly Steinbruckner, representing the Minnesota Deaf Queers group, are organizing an ASL Night Out event for community members to attend an upcoming showing of the new movie “House of Gucci” this Saturday, December 4th. The event is being held to show appreciation for St. Anthony Main and their incredible decision to have all movies have open captions. St. Anthony Main is a small theater that has been struggling with revenue (like many businesses) after the pandemic, so receiving support from the hearing loss and deaf communities could make a huge difference.
Having a local movie theater that provides open captions on all movies at all times, every day, is a huge step forward in accessibility and moves us closer to full and equal access. Please spread the news about open captions at St. Anthony Main.
If you would like more information about attending the “House of Gucci” movie showing on Saturday, please keep watching this blog and our social media. We will post more information as we know it. Here’s the link to the Facebook event link.
Below is a picture from a showing of a movie at St. Anthony Main showing a screen explaining open captions.