The Sundance Jurors’ Walkout…

This Vanity Fair exclusive was sent to me by a reader. According to the report, jurors walked out of the Premiere of “Magazine Dreams” because there was a failure to provide captioning and appropriate access for deaf or hard of hearing individuals, including one juror. According to “multiple sources,” the jury has raised concerns about access before.

It’s noted that several filmmakers declined the request to provide open captions and that some buyers suggested including captions on screen could hurt a film’s asking price. I understand the economic concerns. I can’t help but feel this is the same problem we are experiencing all across America. The people in power making decisions are looking at the numbers and not the human impact of their actions. The dollars matter more than the people living, breathing, and in this case, enjoying films.

Sundance itself continues to broadcast its commitment to access.

Perhaps the most notable part of this story for our community is that if automation was good enough, there wouldn’t be a big cost for captioning. If the filmmakers are citing costs for captioning, I extrapolate (1) there are not enough transcribers available to drive down the price further. Supply and demand. (2) Automation is NOT CLOSE. They would be using it.

It’s either that or (3), they didn’t care enough and are trying to save face with their weak excuses.

This is an opportunity for stenographic providers to expand our market. Maybe somebody can use the article I linked as a justification for Sundance to hire a backup stenographer. Who knows what’s possible until we try?

Hat’s off to all the captioners out there providing access and even the captioners-in-training refining their skills. I focus very much on court reporting, but the public gets a lot more exposure to your work. You’re our frontline message for why the world still needs us. Thanks for all you do!

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