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Cuba, the place where the blind also enjoy ‘watching’ movies

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Cuba, the place where the blind also enjoy ‘watching’ movies

Cinema is not just for the sighted in Cuba, where the blind and visually impaired can also go to the movies thanks to a program called “Touching the Light.”

The initiative has furnished more than 100 films with audio descriptions that help blind audiences visualise what is happening on screen through a narrator.”This project has allowed me to fully understand films I had previously ‘seen’ under conventional projection systems,” Havana resident and self-described movie buff Luis Ceballos, 50, told Xinhua.

Ceballos — who lost his sight at six months of age due to medical complications following a premature birth — was among the first to attend the initial screenings when the project was launched eight years ago. Since then, he has been an avid moviegoer, attending the weekly screenings in summer at one of Havana’s best known movie theatres.

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During the rest of the year, those films are screened once a month.”The most recent film we saw was the award-winning ‘Roma’ from Mexican (director) Alfonso Cuaron, which astonished me. It was an experience that marked me like a hot iron,” he said. “It stirred me deep because it analyses a series of issues about human behaviour,” he said.

After “watching” the award-winning Cuban classic “Memories of Underdevelopment” accompanied by an audio description, he identified so much with the main character that it became his favourite movie.

“The audio description has enriched the inner and personal vision I had of many films. It has been a wonderful experience to be able to touch the light, to be in contact with the world of cinema that I have had references to since my childhood,” said Ceballos, who works at the cultural and recreational centre of Cuba’s National Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired (ANCI).

The initiative has furnished more than 100 films with audio descriptions that help blind audiences visualize what is happening on screen through a narrator ”This project has allowed me to fully understand films I had previously ‘seen’ under conventional projection systems,” Havana resident and self-described movie buff Luis Ceballos, 50, told Xinhua.

Ceballos — who lost his sight at six months of age due to medical complications following a premature birth — was among the first to attend the initial screenings when the project was launched eight years ago. Since then, he has been an avid moviegoer, attending the weekly screenings in summer at one of Havana’s best known movie theatres.

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During the rest of the year, those films are screened once a month.

”The most recent film we saw was the award-winning ‘Roma’ from Mexican (director) Alfonso Cuaron, which astonished me. It was an experience that marked me like a hot iron,” he said. “It stirred me deep because it analyses a series of issues about human behaviour,” he said.

After “watching” the award-winning Cuban classic “Memories of Underdevelopment” accompanied by an audio description, he identified so much with the main character that it became his favourite movie.

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“The audio description has enriched the inner and personal vision I had of many films. It has been a wonderful experience to be able to touch the light, to be in contact with the world of cinema that I have had references to since my childhood,” said Ceballos, who works at the cultural and recreational centre of Cuba’s National Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired

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