The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) together with Deaf Blind Support Philippines, Inc. (DBSP), ushered in a three-day workshop in Audio Description and Closed Captioning for Media and the Arts.
With expert Joel Snyder, PhD as main resource person, the workshop aimed to intensify public awareness on the protection and promotion of human rights. It was also aimed at empowering differently-abled Filipino citizens who are visually impaired and hearing challenged to have equal access in media and arts through the power of audio description (AD) and closed captioning (CC) services.
The workshop also enjoyed the support of the National Council on Disability Affairs, Philippine Blind Union, Call Foundation of the Blind, American Audio Associates, LLC, and Audio Description Project.
MTRCB Chairperson Eugenio “Toto” Villareal along with DBSP President Edgardo “Bong” Garcia led the introductory remarks at the Liezl S. Martinez Hall of the MTRCB office in Quezon City.
The workshop affirmed MTRCB’s continued cooperation that has already been going on between the two agencies, according to Villareal.
“Part and parcel of MTRCB’s ‘walking the talk’ with respect to audience sensitivity and intelligent viewership is that the MTRCB is not only a regulatory body but also a developmental one. The ratings system is useless if it is not understood and used by parents, as well as other members of the family. The MTRCB recognizes the sanctity of family as the basic social institution and foundation of support of our brothers and sisters who are disabled,” he said.
The MTRCB chair further emphasized that the issue of movie and television media accessibility is recognized and is to be given significant importance. The MTRCB therefore, continue its drive to promote its stakeholders with equal access to cultural development through TV and film for disabled people.
For his part, Garcia shared the timely introduction of AD and CC and how it was brought to the Philippines.
“We have started our initiative on promoting AD and CC through the project ‘Movies for the Blind and the Deaf’ with the full support of MTRCB, SM Cares and CALL Foundation of the Blind. However, the movie screenings held and will be shown in the coming months are presented in English language only, simply because we don’t have Filipino or Tagalog films with AD and CC [services]. So one of the objectives of this workshop, is to create a pool of potential [Filipino] audio transcribers and closed-captioners who can now work with movie and television producers in coming up with local Filipino products with AD and CC,” he said.
The workshop included a one-day general introduction of AD/CC and relevant laws/mandates to Philippine audiences that include leaders of concerned Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs) and linked Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), producers of film/television/radio/online programs and educational media; theater owners, academic directors/ teachers/students of special education and mass communication; museum curators and directors of plays and other visual entertainment. It also had a two-day intensive training for potential describers and closed-captioners, i.e., technical staff for production of movie/television/ radio/online programs, students and teachers in special education/ communications/English, museum and art exhibit tour guides, and interpreters for stage and dance/music performances.