International Day of People with Disabilities is the annual celebration of people with disabilities. In 2021 the theme was “Fighting for rights in the post-COVID era.”
Since March 2020, every person has been impacted by drastic political, social and economic change as a result of domestic and international responses to COVID-19.
It was intended that International Day of People with Disabilities should be used to recognise that people who live with disabilities are among the most affected populations amid the COVID pandemic. Where marginalisation, discrimination, vulnerability and exploitation are every day factors for many people, the increased risk of poor outcomes were magnified with the reduced access to routine health care and rehabilitation services, more pronounced social isolation, poorly tailored public health messaging, inadequately constructed mental health services, and a lack of emergency preparedness for people with access needs.
We call on domestic and international public health officials, political representatives, advocates, supporters, and every citizen in every community, to learn from the experiences of people living with disabilities during the pandemic, and push for more meaningful investments into the socioeconomic building blocks which will reduce the barriers faced by people with disabilities in every community.
Disabled representation in cinema continues to be a struggle, as we see very few authentic depictions that don’t play to the hero or tragedy tropes so often associated with disability on screen. Our ask of the film sector is to see more varied characters and stories about disability, to hire more disabled talent into production, distribution and exhibition roles in film, and to support any workers with access needs with compassion and care, so they can progress and have jobs for life in the industry.
As regards exhibition, at Inclusive Cinema, we seek to see as many subtitled, audio-described and relaxed screenings made available across the UK for those with access requirements as there are for those without access requirements.
Useful sources for accessible screenings
Your Local Cinema lists many subtitled and audio-described screenings
Accessible Screenings UK also list autism-friendly, dementia-friendly, subtitled and audio-described screenings