14 petitions

Started 7 months ago

Petition to Peter Becker, Jonathan B. Turell, Jon Mulvaney

Criterion, Provide SDH Subtitles on Streaming and Blu-ray/DVD Content

On October 25, 2016, I penned an Open Letter to the Criterion Collection regarding the lack of subtitles for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing on multiple blu-rays and DVDs released by the Criterion Collection. While films completely in English will typically be given full SDH support, and foreign languages will be afforded often newly-translated English subtitles, the English-language portions of Foreign films will often go unaccounted for. According to a representative for Criterion, they "generally only include English subtitles on a foreign language film if the English makes up at least 30 or 40% of the film." This leaves those who wish to have the full dialogue of the film transcribed (Deaf and Hearing alike) without any support. Affected titles include, among others:- Cronos- Dreams- The Wages of Fear- Carlos- 8 1/2 - A Brighter Summer Day- Yi Yi Similar criticisms have extended to Criterion's old channel on Hulu, which failed to provide SDH subtitles on a majority of its releases. As Criterion remains the sole distributor for a majority of its titles in the United States, a lack of complete subtitles leaves those who wish to have the entire dialogue of the film transcribed (Deaf and Hearing alike) without any recourse to fully experience these titles--a fact that wholly goes against Criterion's "commitment to publishing the defining moments of cinema for a wider and wider audience." Response to the letter has been overwhelmingly positive by members of the Deaf and Hearing communities, and in the hopes of gaining a wider audience I have started this petition for Criterion to fully subtitle their content on their new streaming website, Filmstruck, as well as their future releases on Blu-ray and DVD. While it has been suggested that doing so is a matter of time and finances for Criterion, completing a transcription of a film when over 70% of a title is already taken care of is a small, easily achievable step to take which would result in a film being 100% accessible to the widest audience possible. While Criterion's lack of subtitle support also extends to their audio commentaries and special features (a major selling point for their releases, and an important reason for their high reputation among cinephiles), I do understand that change is incremental. Fully providing SDH subtitles on Criterion titles would be an important step in providing equal access to quality cinema, and it would be a disservice to film viewers and filmmakers alike to suggest otherwise.

Julian Singleton
122 supporters