UK cinema operators have come together for a second year running to support World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) 2015.
Over 950 ‘Autism Friendly’ Screenings (AFS) are now confirmed, including Cinderella, Home, Paddington and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water. The screenings, involving hundreds of venues from the major circuits to smaller operator cinemas, will take place between Thursday 26 March and Wednesday 8 April.
In partnership with autism support provider Dimensions and the UK’s leading autism charity, The National Autistic Society, the screenings will provide a further boost to UK’s growing cinema audience amongst people with autism.
An AFS provides an environment which takes into account some of the challenges which might be experienced during a standard film screening. Whilst the term AFS tends to be used for such screenings, they have proved popular with a range of people with other disabilities such as learning disabilities. AFS have sound levels turned down, the lights left at a low level and film-goers are able to make noise and sit where they feel comfortable.
AFS are a prime example of the UK cinema sector’s ongoing commitment to be as inclusive as possible and to find different ways to meet the needs of disabled customers.
Over the last few years and following the success of last year’s campaign, an increasing number of UK cinema operators have begun programming regular AFS for their local communities. World Autism Awareness Day provides cinemas with an ideal opportunity to celebrate that fact.
Cinemas already running AFS have found that they can be a great way to bring people back to the cinema.
Grainne Peat, Policy Executive at the CEA, which has helped co-ordinate these screenings and helps promote broader work by the sector on access:
“The success of last year’s campaign, both in terms of the numbers of cinemas that participated and of those who attended, really highlighted the importance of Autism Friendly Screenings to local communities. The overwhelmingly positive response from this growing audience has encouraged our members to increase their offerings of such screenings – many have now made this a regular feature in their programming, some have added in more screenings, offering a broader range of content, while others have begun to offer such screenings for older audiences.”
The full list of confirmed screenings can be accessed at Your Local Cinema .com