Bringing the magic of film to blind audiences in Tibet
When the animated film "Ne Zha" started playing, an auditorium of blind or partially sighted cinemagoers soaked in the vivid narrations and the odyssey of this Chinese mythical figure.
Thanks to a public-service project named "Ever Shining Cinema," the film about Ne Zha, a devil born into a loving family and eventually emerging as a hero, can find its way into a special-education school in Lhasa, the capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, on Tuesday.
The school is home to around 250 students, including 51 with visual impairments.
"I was filled with excitement. I love the movie," said visually impaired student Lhamo Drolkar. "The project and its barrier-free films enable us to enjoy the silver screen, just like the sighted moviegoers."
The "Ever Shining Cinema" project was initiated at the end of 2017 by the Communication University of China, Beijing Gehua CATV Network Co., Ltd., and Oriental Jiaying Media Co., Ltd. It aims to interpret movies for visually impaired people through dubbing to meet their spiritual and cultural needs.
China has about 17.3 million people with visual disabilities, according to the second national sample survey on disability.
By the end of last year, the project had produced 416 barrier-free movies and one barrier-free TV series and held 254 public welfare screenings nationwide.
In 2019, the "Ever Shining Cinema" project brought a barrier-free movie to Tibet for the first time.
"In the future, we will strengthen ties with the visually impaired in Tibet and send more and better barrier-free movies there. We hope the barrier-free concept can take root in the snowy plateau region," said Zhao Shuping, a professor at the Communication University of China and the project instructor.
The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled came into force in China on May 5.
The treaty aims to eliminate copyright-related obstacles for print-disabled people in obtaining works. Experts believe it will create a broader space for the production and dissemination of barrier-free films and television dramas in China.
"The vivid characters in the movies make me believe that through my efforts, I can create a bright life too," said Lhamo Drolkar.