A deaf blogger from Wymondham has been told by cinema bosses it is her responsibility to show the demand is there for subtitled movies amid a passionate campaign.
Ellie Parfitt, 22, started the #SubtitledCinema campaign two years ago, for more films to be shown using subtitles, especially during opening weeks and during peak times.
An online petition launched by Miss Parfitt gained more than 11,000 signatures and she even bagged a meeting with the UK Cinema Association last year.
But now Miss Parfitt, who is profoundly deaf, feels like she has hit a brick wall with the campaign as major cinema chains Odeon, Cineworld, and Vue only agreed to a small increase – and said it was up to her to prove the demand was there for more screenings.
Miss Parfitt said at one point she was even told hearing people did not want subtitles on films as they were distracting.
She said: “They have 100pc choice of which film they see, deaf people don’t. If you explained that if this film wasn’t subtitled due to them complaining, it means that this group of deaf people cannot go – hopefully they’d understand but there is no awareness. How is that fair that hearing people get to dictate when we can go?”
“I love watching films and social outings with family and friends and the fact that they get to go the cinema without me is upsetting, isolating and I feel treated unequally as I don’t have the choice to go because there’s no subtitles.”
“All I want to do is go to the cinema on a regular basis, see the new films – especially in the opening week – with subtitles at a reasonable time, especially Friday/Saturday nights. It breaks my heart when my friends go without me and they’re all talking about the latest release and I have to wait months for the DVD to come out.”
Miss Parfitt said this was just the latest example of where deaf people faced a disadvantage, and cited audio announcements – especially on public transport – and people not being aware of how to communicate with deaf people as other issues.
She said: “Deafness is one of the biggest disabilities, but the least understood. Hearing people wouldn’t like it if films were shown without sound, so why do they think it’s okay to show with very few subtitles?”
Miss Parfitt said on average less than 2pc of all films were subtitled, and gave the example of the most recent Avengers film, which she said had 179 showing in Norwich in opening week – but just two were subtitled.