Deaf community gives thumbs up to open captioning for movies - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Deaf community gives thumbs up to open captioning for movies

Ward Theaters Ward Theaters
State Rep. James Tokioka State Rep. James Tokioka
Billy Kekui Billy Kekui
Pono Tokioka Pono Tokioka
KAKAAKO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

We take going to the movies for granted.  But those who are deaf or hearing impaired couldn’t enjoy the full experience on a regular basis, at least, that is, until today.

Consolidated Ward Theaters held a showing of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens” with open captions on the screen for all to see.  This allows people who can’t hear to understand the dialogue.  Theaters had tried closed captioning but it didn’t quite work.

State Representative James Tokioka  explains, “At this particular theater they had a captioning box that went in the cup, but a lot of times, you know, you have to look down, look up, look down, look up.  And I know they tried to accommodate deaf people as much as they could, but it was very, very difficult.”

Tokioka introduced the measure that is now law, mandating that theater chains must play at least two showings a week of movies that have open captioning.  Tokioka is familiar with the problems the deaf experience when they go to the movies.

“I have a son who’s deaf.  He didn’t want to come to the movies with his sister and I because it was like, ‘Dad, what do I want to go to the movies for?  I don’t understand what’s happening.  You guys go’”, Tokioka shared.

Supporters say the open captioning helps many others.  Billy Kekui conveyed via sign language, “Not only deaf people.  People who are hard of hearing as well will benefit from it because sometimes they don’t hear all the dialogue, and they can see the picture as well as the captions”.

As for Tokioka’s son, Pono, he’s now a movie buff.  “I’ll come with my friends.  My friends love going to the movies so now I will be able to join them and have a good time as well”, he signed.

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