Los Angeles, CA – “Dealt,” a documentary chronicling the colorful life and career of famed blind card mechanic Richard Turner, is embracing new technology to allow its subject and other members of the blind community to ‘see’ the film in the form of Audio Description Headsets.
Luke Korem’s film, which won the Documentary Audience Award at SXSW 2017, opens theatrically October 27th in Los Angeles, where Korem and the film team have partnered with the Arena Cinelounge to make Audio Description, or AD, headsets available upon request for every seat in the theater. This is a bold initiative by the filmmakers, who have made special accommodations to ensure both sighted and blind patrons are able to enjoy “Dealt.”
“Audio Description is the very exciting and rapidly emerging media accessibility tool designed for low vision and blind audiences,” said Michele Spitz, the Audio Description narrator for DEALT. “This evolution makes it possible for inclusive and simultaneously shared experiences of entertainment, whether in a movie theater with a headset provided, or in the privacy of your home via broadcast, streaming or VOD.”
When used by a moviegoer, the AD track will play into the headset via bluetooth, with the prerecorded secondary audio track describing the multiple visual elements, time coded and precisely placed between dialogue. The DEALT film team have made an effort to make this technology available across both theatrical and VOD platforms, supplying the AD track on each DCP given to theaters as well as to iTunes and other On Demand platforms starting October 20th from Sundance Selects.
“Audio description is a tool that many blind people use to enhance our appreciation of movies, TV shows, live theater, and more,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). “While we have always enjoyed movies and TV like everyone else, the verbal description of action, scenery, text, and other visual elements can increase our enjoyment. We appreciate that the makers of DEALT are committed to ensuring that everyone can equally and independently enjoy all aspects of this powerful film.”
“AD is an amazingly powerful tool, which every filmmaker and platform should embrace,” added Luke Korem, the director of DEALT. “It’s just as essential as Closed Captioning (CC), but oftentimes is neglected because it’s widely unknown. With AD we can create a more rich, colorful, and immersive film experience for those who are visually impaired.”
Richard Turner, the subject of the film who has been blind since the age of 9, was similarly impressed by the technology. “The first time I listened to “Dealt” with audio descriptions it turned a one-dimensional audio experience into a wonderful visual journey within my mind’s eye,” he said. “All my confusion, questions, curiosities were painted crystal clear.”
Charting Richard Turner’s life from his tumultuous childhood to the present, “Dealt” reveals how through determination and force of will, he overcame seemingly insurmountable obstacles to rise to the top of his profession. It’s both a tantalizing, up-close look at the secretive world of magic and a candid, awe-inspiring portrait of a man who lives beyond his limitations.
“The National Federation of the Blind believes that “Dealt” skillfully tells a compelling story of a gifted man who is living the life he wants,” said NFB President Riccobono. “Rick Turner refuses to be defined by his blindness or to let it hold him back. His talent and his determination will inspire and enlighten everyone who sees this movie.”
Director Luke Korem is hopeful that AD technology will become more widely available in theaters, enhancing the experience for blind moviegoers everywhere. “Prior to working on “Dealt,” I was unaware (like many people) of audio description for films,” he said. “Now, having witnessed first-hand the impact it can have I feel it’s absolutely essential. We hope through our efforts with “Dealt,” we can help create a wave of awareness for the wonderful use and power of AD in film.”
“Dealt” is available now on VOD via Sundance Selects. It opened theatrically in New York on October 20th and in Los Angeles on October 27th. It now arrives in Austin November 3rd at the Violet Crown Cinema. Check your local listings for show times.
By Liz Lopez
Source: Sundance Selects