Student government screens sensory-friendly film
Ciara Hopkinson | Monday, March 27, 2017
In an effort to raise awareness about different disabilities and their effects on every aspect of individuals’ lives, student government partnered with the LOGAN Center of South Bend to organize a sensory-friendly movie showing of “The Red Turtle” in DeBartolo Performing Arts Center’s Browning Cinema on Sunday afternoon.
Sabrina Battiston, a sophomore who was one of the event’s organizers, said the screening catered to attendees’ viewing preferences.
“The idea is that we want to minimize sensory overstimulation in a movie,” Battiston said. “People might be sensitive to loud noises or might not be able to sit still for a long time, and this can be related to mental disabilities or just general sensitivities.”
Sensory-friendly showings provide disabled individuals and their families with the opportunity to see a movie without worrying about the reactions of other moviegoers, Battiston said.
“We had the lights halfway on, so people could see if they wanted to get up and walk around, and it was very casual,” she said. “If kids needed to talk to their parents, they could do that. There’s no judgment there. Also, the sound was lower than in normal movies.”
The movie, “The Red Turtle,” is a critically acclaimed animated film from Studio Ghibli, the Japanese studio that produced such classics as “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle,” Battiston said. She said she met with Ricky Herbst, cinema program director at Debartolo Performing Arts Center, to get his opinion on the best movie for the showing.
“It’s animated, it’s colorful, all ages like it. It was nominated for an academy award this year,” Battiston said. “[Herbst] thought it would appeal to all audiences.”
The showing drew a variety of viewers, including families with young children, elderly couples and Notre Dame students, Battiston said. She said the event was co-sponsored by the LOGAN Center of South Bend, which supports individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
“It went really well, and we had a great turnout,” she said. “We’re hoping that this will become a regular thing, maybe once a month,” Battiston said.
The showing was part of the student government policy department’s push to raise awareness and sensitivity toward the difficulties of living with all different disabilities, including developmental, physical and mental disabilities, Battiston said.
“We don’t always realize the everyday things that people find difficult,” Battiston said. “They might have to accommodate themselves to the experience rather than the experience being accommodated to them.”