Jurors walk out of Sundance premiere over captioning issue

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — Marlee Matlin, Jeremy O. Harris and Eliza Hittman left the premiere of an in-competition film at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday night after the captioning device failed.

Matlin, who is deaf, is on the judging panel alongside Harris and Hittman for films debuting in the US drama competition at the festival in Park City, Utah, this week. The jurors walked out when they realized the situation, which happened at the premiere of “Magazine Dreams.” Variety broke the news for the first time.

Joana Vicente, CEO of the Sundance Institute, said in a statement to The Associated Press on Saturday that the closed captioning device, which relies on Wi-Fi, was checked before the screening and worked, but worked nonetheless. evil.

“Our team immediately worked with the devices at this venue to test them again for the next screening and the device worked without any malfunctions,” Vicente said. “Our goal is to make all experiences (both in-person and online) as accessible as possible for all participants. Our accessibility efforts are, of course, constantly evolving, and feedback helps drive them forward for the community as a whole.

Accessibility at film festivals has been a hot topic for years, and the incident has once again shed light on how organizers are trying to make changes to accommodate all fans. Vicente said his team had worked hard in this area, but acknowledged there was more to learn.

“We are committed to enhancing the experiences and belonging of all festival attendees,” the statement said. “We view accessibility as one of the key drivers of institutional excellence and this work is done in partnership with the film crews.”

Matlin did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Vicente said she and her fellow jurors will be seeing “Magazine Dreams” in the coming days.

The Sundance Film Festival runs until January 29.


The spelling of ‘Hittman’ has been corrected in this version.

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