FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GARDEN THIEVES PICTURES ISSUES A CHALLENGE TO THE FILM INDUSTRY
With a Captioned Screening of Independent Film, Ultrasonic, In Theaters Now
WASHINGTON, DC-June 14, 2012 – Yesterday, a crowd from the deaf and hard of hearing community in Washington, DC, piled into a theater at West End Cinema to watch the recently released, independent thriller, Ultrasonic. This is not a common occurrence as few films offer closed or open captioning, and it is even rarer to find an independent film with limited release offering it. Ultrasonic tells the tale of a Washington, D.C. musician with hyper-sensitive hearing that goes in search of an ominous sound that plagues him, but is inaudible to everyone else. The film has been released in 10 markets including Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, and Miami. The film is also available on Comcast Video on Demand Nationwide. It is the first feature-length film from Rohit Colin Rao, and was the recipient of Best in Fest honors at the 2012 DC Independent Film Festival. Rao, DC-suburban resident shot the film entirely in and around DC with all local talent.
A message was delivered to the crowd from Casey Callister, COO of Garden Thieves Pictures and one of the Executive Producers of the film.“Tonight I challenge every festival and every movie screening in DC to provide Open Caption screenings." He continued, “I also challenge all VOD to mandate closed captioning.” The screening included a Q&A with the director, Rohit Colin Rao, with an ASL interpreter. Callister also ensured that the film’s trailer was captioned and that the iTunes copy was as well. “It is such a wonderful and rare opportunity to be able to watch an indie film like this in theaters. I always have to wait for the DVD release for films that get limited releases” said Erik Nordlof, who found out about the screening through his Meetup.com group, ASL Bridge.
Also present at the screening was Kendra Rubinfeld, director of the Our City Film Festival, which screens films that are about or take place in Washington, DC. “I commend Casey on his challenge,” says Rubinfeld. “There is no reason that the films we screen should not be accessible to everyone. We make sure everyone can physically access our venue. Why wouldn’t we make sure that everyone can follow the film?”
Cost may be that reason, as producing a captioned screening can run around 1000 dollars, and hiring an interpreter can be up to $300 an hour. For small film festivals or small budget films, this may be unrealistic and finding a grant that can supplement this cost is difficult. A discussion was started on DC Film Festival Organizer’s Facebook site after the screening about Callister’s challenge.
Kendra Rubinfeld PR