“Festival NADA 2019” concert was held for the hearing-impaired to enjoy it.
/Extracted by KT&G Sangsangmadang
On April 18th, Shinhan Card held the “Barrier Free Film Festival” for hearing impaired people. About 90 people were invited and they watched subtitled movies together. Thanks to the subtitle, they could watch movies which were impossible before. Barrier free refers to a movement to reduce barriers that keep away people with disabilities from having social life. Nowadays, its mission has grown into reducing prejudice against people with disabilities. Following with that purpose, barrier free has launched a series of projects to improve access to cultural experiences for people with disabilities.
Visually impaired people can enjoy cultures through their ears
First of all, there are movies for visually impaired people. In these movies, a voice commentary that contains information about what is happening on the screen is provided. The commentary gives detailed information about the characters in a particular scene and their actions. For example, if a character named Jun-seok is driving a car while singing, then the commentary would say, “Jun-seok is driving a car, singing.” This can also explain letters or messages that may appear on screen such as titles or text messages between characters.
Moreover, there are also musicals designed to be enjoyed by the visually- impaired. In a musical, actor’s voice is the most important thing. When musicals are performed for the visually impaired, they can be staged without a stage backdrop and setting.
These musicals often consist of a piano for background music, seats for the composer and commentator, and music stands. The actors sit on chairs and act only with voices. During scenes with no lines or songs, the commentary breaks the silence. It can be used to describe the character’s mental state or behavior. Last year, in December, a barrier free musical named “Visang” was screened for two days in SAC art hall.
Let’s see and feel the sound of world
Movies for hearing-impaired people also exist. Subtitles are used to convey all the relevant audio information, including every line of dialogue, sound effects, and background music as well as information such as character names when necessary. CGV, MEGABOX, and LOTTE CINEMA cooperate with the “Korean Association of the Deaf,” the “Korea Blind Union,” and the “Korean Film Council” to show barrier free films every month.
On May, lots of the hearing- impaired enjoyed a rock festival called “Festival NADA.” It was a concert for hearing-impaired people and was held three times in total in Seoul, Chuncheon, and Busan. How did they enjoy and feel the music? They were provided chairs and woofer vests both of which have vibrating devices inside. Thus, the participants felt vibrations and the feeling of movement just like they were in a concert hall. In addition, interpreters of dancing sign delivered lyrics and helped hearing-impaired people to feel the rhythm and beat.
Furthermore, they screened “Another Child” and “Inseparable Bros” in many movie theaters nationwide. Kim Ji-eun, stenographer of the “KoreanAssociation of the Deaf” said, “In the case of barrier free movie, everything is delivered through subtitles. Therefore, it is more plentiful and we can feel the atmosphere of movie vividly. I hope more hearing-impaired people watch movies often and have fun. Also, I wish non-disabled people to be interested in these movies either.”
Many people are trying to make wheelchair users easy to get around
Many people may have heard of “Healing Travel.” However, they may not have heard of “Wheeling Travel.” “Wheeling” is a combination of “wheel” and “healing.” Recently, “Tourbaksa,” a travel agency, has distributed wheeling travel guide books to Jeju, Fukuoka, and Tottori for free. They consist of wheelchair-available flights, accommodation, and vehicles. To write this guide book, travel expert, the person who helps you plan a trip that is tailored according to your needs and wishes, and wheelchair users conducted a survey. This allowed them to design a travel plan and itinerary specifically for wheelchair users.
Another example of project is a barrier free map for people with disabilities recently made by “FIXER,” a club in Dankook University. Its name is “baf map,” which is an abbreviation of barrier free and “best friend.” This map aims to help students with disabilities like their “best friends” by giving information where facilities are for them. Also, it is expected to make it easier for students with disabilities to go around campus without others help and find comfortable facilities.
This is not all. According to Cha Jong-gwan, representative of FIXER, their goal is to solve mobility right and create mobility friendly environment for everyone. “In the meantime, I have felt that although our society is the home of everyone, movement environment for everyone has not been fostered yet. Therefore, I wanted to plan and implement a solution.” He added, “I hope there comes a time when baf map is not called baf map. Because I think every map must be prepared for everyone, naturally. Through the challenges I am currently working on, such as this baf map, our society will become more interested in mobility.”
In our society, the barrier free movement is taking positive steps to improve the cultural life of people with disabilities. However, compared to the amount of culture for people without disabilities, there is still a long way to go. Kim Ji-eun said, “To make barrier free movies, we need lots of help from cooperative firms. Money and time are not enough to release all the movies. Even, barrier free movies are only shown in a few theaters for a set period of time. Therefore, people with disabilities are bound to be limited in their choice of time and place. I think Korea should improve its cultural life gradually so that more people can enjoy it.”
Lee Da-young firstname.lastname@example.org
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