Hearing Loss Association of America and AMC Theatres® Reach Landmark Agreement to Dramatically Improve Access to Movies for Millions of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Patrons in New York State

Oct. 10, 2013, New York, NY. – The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) announced today that they have reached an agreement with AMC Theatres® (AMC) to improve access to its movies for patrons who are deaf or have hearing loss. Under the agreement, AMC will make available personal closed captioning systems at all of its digital screens in its 24 theatres in New York State within one year.

 AMC is installing captioning systems in New York, and across its national circuit, on a rolling basis in conjunction with the company’s national conversion to digital cinema. Installation has already begun, and personal captioning equipment is currently available for about a quarter of screens at AMC locations in New York.

 Movie captions convey the dialogue, narration, musical cues, key sound effects, speaker identification and other auditory information, in the form of written text for guests who have significant difficulty hearing the movie soundtrack. Closed captions are relayed – in sync with the movie – only to guests who choose to receive them via a personal display device. The captions are not visible to the rest of the audience.

 AMC worked closely with the Hearing Loss Association of America, an advocacy and membership organization for people with hearing loss, and DRA, a non-profit legal center with offices in New York City and Berkeley, California, to set the timetable for installation of captioning capability in New York.

 “The Hearing Loss Association of America applauds AMC’s collaborative efforts to provide closed captioning technology, which will result in our constituents with hearing loss being able to watch more movies in New York theatres than ever before,” said Anna Gilmore Hall, Executive Director of HLAA. “We think this can be a national model for enhancing the viewing experience of moviegoers with hearing loss.”

 “As a New Yorker, and a movie lover with hearing loss, I am thrilled with this agreement,” said Jerry Bergman of HLAA’s Manhattan Chapter, which initiated the dialogue with AMC to provide captioning at its theatres in New York State. “I look forward to being able to watch more closed-captioned movies at convenient locations and times.

 “We commend AMC’s continued support for captioning,” said Anne Kelsey of Disability Rights Advocates. “AMC’s decision to provide captioning in its digitally converted theatres makes first-run movies available to millions of patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.”

 About the Hearing Loss Association of America

 The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), founded in 1979, opens the world of communication to people with hearing loss through information, education, advocacy and support. HLAA produces the Walk4Hearing in 22 cities across the country, publishes the bimonthly Hearing Loss Magazine, holds annual conventions (Convention 2014 is in Austin, Texas, June 26 – 29), advocates for the rights of people with hearing loss, and has an extensive network of chapters and state organizations across the country. For more information, visit www.hearingloss.org.

 About Disability Rights Advocates (DRA)

 Disability Rights Advocates (DRA) is a non-profit legal center with offices in California and New York, specializing in high-impact class action litigation on behalf of people with disabilities. DRA has won several significant victories for disabled citizens in New York including a court order compelling the New York Board of Elections to remove access barriers at its voter poll-sites. DRA is also challenging the inadequacy of New York City’s disaster plans for disabled residents and NYC’s Taxi of Tomorrow, a taxi that is not wheelchair accessible. For more information, please visit dralegal.org.

 About the Captioning Equipment

 AMC will be providing CaptiView Closed Caption Viewing Systems, made by Doremi Labs, Inc. (http://www.doremilabs.com/). More information about CaptiView can be found here: http://www.doremilabs.com/products/cinema-products/captiview/ .

 Press Contacts:

 Ryan Noonan, AMC Theatres, (913) 213-2183, rnoonan@amctheatres.com

Anna Gilmore Hall, Executive Director of HLAA, (301) 657-2248, agilmorehall@hearingloss.org

Jerry Bergman, HLAA Manhattan Chapter, (212) 496-6102, jerbergman1@me.com

Anne Kelsey, Disability Rights Advocates, (212) 644-8644, akelsey@dralegal.org

Sid Wolinsky, Disability Rights Advocates, (510) 665-8644