Why we need sign language interpretation of films

We’re happy to announce that Emma Davie’s award-winning feature documentary THE OIL MACHINE, produced by Sonja Henrici Creates, is now available with full-length British Sign Language interpretation. The BSL version of the film, made by Red Bee Media, features an in-vision interpreter and is currently available to watch on demand ahead of a discussion hosted by the British Deaf Association (BDA) Scotland on Tuesday, 22 August 2023.

Lesley McGilp, Signing General Manager at Red Bee Media, explains the importance of using sign language as compared to captions:

“BSL is the Deaf community’s native language. While subtitles provide an onscreen written dialogue of what is being said, a programme’s subtitles are still read and comprehended in English, which means the majority of the Deaf audience cannot access the programme in its entirety. There are very few programmes solely in BSL in the TV schedule. As the majority of programming is in English, in-vision BSL translators enable Deaf audiences to access programmes in their own language.”

Ben Kempas at Film & Campaign Ltd, the company delivering the film's impact campaign for Sonja Henrici Creates, added:

“Having facilitated nearly 200 events with THE OIL MACHINE to date, it is a very special moment to finally be making it available with in-vision BSL to the Deaf community, thanks to the generosity of Red Bee Media. That said – this should really not be a special moment. Just like captions for the hard-of-hearing, every major production should be made available in a sign-language version by default – not just in TV broadcasting but particularly in the independent documentary sector."

Avril Hepner at the British Deaf Association (BDA) Scotland has put together a panel to discuss the film, asking "Are we too late?", which will include the film's director Emma Davie. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook this Tuesday at 7pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/702953411653480/
In the lead-up to the discussion, the BSL version of THE OIL MACHINE is available to watch at: https://www.theoilmachine.org/bsl

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