Nancy Eaves, Development Manager at the Utah Film Center approached Listen Technologies about providing our assistive listening devices for a unique application for the Tumbleweeds Film Festival for children and youth.
Tumbleweeds has become the most noteworthy festival of its kind in the Intermountain West. The Utah Film Center puts on the film festival to provide access to children of all ages and all means to the art and impact of film and film-craft.
In its third year the Utah Film Center was planning for over 4,000 children. Their families and educators to attend 20 public screenings of international films. Through the support of many sponsors free tickets were offered to organizations like the Neighborhood House, Sorenson Unity Center, Art Access/VSA of Utah, Boys & Girls Club, Guadalupe School, Neighborhood House, The Odyssey House, YWCA and Women’s Resource Center at the U of U to reach those that might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend.
For many patrons this was their first experience with foreign films. English subtitles were provided for the various films but the Utah Film Center was faced with the challenge of some of the children either not being able to read yet or not as quickly as would be needed for the subtitles. Organizers wanted to ensure that all that attended would have an enhanced appreciation of foreign-language movies.
Their solution was to provider readers for the subtitles and use the same technology used for assistive listening for this application. Listen Technologies provided loaner equipment for this purpose.
The control rooms of the Black Box and Jeanne Wagner theaters at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center were each equipped with an LT-800 Stationary RF Transmitter for the reader. A LA- 278 Behind-the-Head Microphone was connected to the LT-800 transmitter via the LA-280 1/4 inch to 3.5 mm Microphone Adapter. The reader watched the movie through the control room window and simply read the subtitles as they appeared on the screen.
The children that needed to hear the narration picked up a Listen RF receiver from a festival volunteer before each screening and would hear the narration of the subtitle. Children could choose either a LA-165 Headphone or LA-164 Ear Speaker. Both options allowed the children to hear the narrator, the score, and dialogue.
I attended the screening of ‘Zarafa’ an animated French film based on a true story of a 10-year old African boy and a giraffe that experience an adventure from desert sands to snowy mountains. While the intent of the receivers was for the children I found that I was able to watch the movie vs. read the movie. I found it to be very enjoyable and less distracting to watching a foreign film. I think it may be something the motion picture industry should consider for foreign films for audiences of all ages!