Accessible Film Club

Monthly film screenings that are open to all, especially those with autism and learning disabilities.

The accessible film club screenings are open to all, especially those with autism and learning disabilities where films are screened in a relaxed, comfortable, safe, inclusive environment.

The accessible film club is an inclusive film-screening event that happens at Gulbenkian, in partnership with Square Pegs Arts on a monthly basis.  Running since December 2017, we work with a core group of 15-25 years old individuals to programme and run the events.

At the club screenings, the films are screened in a relaxed, safe, comfortable and inclusive environment.  Subtle changes to the cinema environment include the lights being kept on at a low level and lower than usual sound levels, no trailers or advertisements – just the film, allowance for increased levels of movement and noise, people to help you find your seats and captioned subtitles and audio description available.

Please see our what’s on listing for upcoming events

Why an accessible film club?
We identified the need for an accessible film club in collaboration with one of our resident companies, Square Pegs Arts, who run activities and projects for young people with learning disabilities, autism or social communication difficulties.  We both recognised the gap in the market locally and in our programme for an accessible screening.  Working with Square Pegs Arts, we identified a group of interested young people who already participated in their activity to look to develop a screening format that would appeal and work for them, needing it to be a bespoke and accessible cinema experience where they feel safe, valued and included. Feedback from the group of young people that Square Pegs Arts developed was that they would love to attend the cinema but in many cases had never been able to because most accessible screenings are on a weekday morning when they are in school.  It was therefore a key part of the development that these screenings happen on the weekend.  For consistency, we do these events on a Saturday, monthly at 3pm.  Each event focuses on engaging the audience with the film and is followed by a post film chat hosted by Square Pegs.  Members of the core group help select the films we screen at the club and help to run the event, assisting our front of house team.

Originally funded by Film Hub South East as a pilot project, the club has become a key part of our developing cinema programme and audience development.

What’s new in 2019?
The accessible film club is also a part of Autism Arts Festival, a bi-annual event by and for people on the autistic spectrum that happens in late April.  This year alongside our accessible film club screening, the festival will also feature: Dyspla Short Films, Oska Bright Film Festival presents Queer Freedom and an All Night Avengers movie marathon.

Square Pegs Arts are working on a short film, which will be screened prior to the accessible screening at the Autism Arts Festival in April 2019.  Watch the film they made about difference in 2017 called This is Me:

Accessible film club will be at bOing! International Family Festival 2019. Find out more about bOing!

At Gulbenkian, we are striving towards a more accessible future.  Our experience running the accessible film club has spurred us to review other areas and we have invested in training for our staff in autism and dementia awareness.  We are also a participating member in Mind the Gap Accessibility charter and have been making strides in making our whole programme and venue accessible.  Including developing Accessible welcome and journey videos, starting an access scheme (launching Spring 2019) and are due to install new audio description facilities in our theatre auditorium by Autumn 2019.

More information:
If you would like any further information about the Accessible Film Club or accessible events at Gulbenkian, please visit our website or contact Helen, or call 01227 82 4397.

Square-pegs-arts logo autism friendly screening lloro

'We are thrilled to be working with Square Pegs to incorporate such an important offering within our programme' Eleanor, Head of Creative Learning
'Our film club allows people who are interested in film to access and enjoy the full cinema experience, and will also offer the opportunity to socialise afterwards as part of an informal post-film discussion.' Beth James, Square Pegs Arts

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