Smart Cinema tailors movies for people with vision or hearing loss

For the first time, millions of people with vision or hearing loss in China will be able to admire new movies remade for them through an online service installed on smart phones.

Official figures show that China has more than 17 million visually impaired people and over 20 million people living in hearing and language impairment.

During a recent seminar held in Beijing, Smart Cinema – an app which simultaneously streams theatrical films – released a special version to help such audience to enjoy the fun of "watching" the latest films.

Initially a pilot project backed by China Film Industry, the country’s top sector regulator, Smart Cinema digitally mimics theatrical environment and sales by allowing one ticket, mostly around 25 yuan ($3.6) per person, to be only watched for a single time on one device.

Its new version can automatically shift to films tailored for people with special needs after "knowing" their special demands via detecting the system sets on their phones.

Those films are remade by adding verbal descriptions or more subtitles and sign language to explain character activities and backdrop information, making audience better understand the plot unfolding. One of the most highlighted lineup includes Grace of Porridge.

Jack Gao, founding partner and CEO of Smart Cinema, says the app hopes to use advanced internet technology to help disabled people to fulfill their dreams of being immersed in the cinematic world like others.

The seminar, themed on developing and promoting films for people with visual and hearing impairment, was jointly held by China Association of the Blind and China Disabled Persons’ Federation.

According to the organizers, those in need could enjoy films by participating some charity programs but such events are limited, and Smart Cinema could benefit a much bigger audience.

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