Birmingham screens national premiere for ‘Autism Friendly Films’

odeon logoDimensionsBirmingham ODEON on New street is to take part in the first UK-wide ‘Autism Friendly Films’ event on 11th August 2011.

Dimensions and ODEON announced the launch of ‘Autism Friendly Films’ this month and due to popular demand from people working in the social care sector in Birmingham, the New Street cinema has been added to the list of 38 cinemas taking part.

The project aims to raise awareness of the sensory differences experienced by people and promote the cinema-going experience for people with autism across the country, through a special national screening.

Dimensions, a leading specialist not-for-profit provider of support for people with autism and/ or learning disabilities in England and Wales has joined forces with Europe’s largest cinema group, ODEON, to screen ‘Autism Friendly Films’ this summer.

This is the first time a chain of cinemas the size of ODEON and a leading provider of support for people who experience autism has teamed up in the UK. This unique partnership will mean that people who can sometimes be excluded from the traditional cinema experience (because they may find the lights and volume difficult to manage) will be able to watch the film in an environment conducive with their needs.

Film fans are invited to watch the first screening of the ‘Autism Friendly Films’ initiative this summer with a showing of Mr Popper’s Penguins (PG). The pilot will take place in over 30 cinemas across the UK on Thursday 11th August. If successful, it is hoped this will be the first of many autism friendly screenings of different films in the future.

Director of Specialist Development at Dimensions, Lisa Hopkins, says: “One in a hundred people in England and Wales are diagnosed with autism and yet society isn’t always suited to the needs of people on the autism spectrum. The cinema experience can be a particularly challenging environment but it is one that can be made accessible by good partnership working. The launch of ‘Autism Friendly Films’ is all about inclusion. As an organisation we would like to get people talking and thinking about other ways in which society can be more inclusive to everyone.”

Roger Harris, CEO of ODEON Cinemas says: “We very much wanted to work with Dimensions to offer a cinema experience to people who wouldn’t normally find it easy to come to see a film. We all know that watching a film on the big screen is a wonderful experience and it is one that should be accessible to everyone. Working with Dimensions has raised our awareness about the needs of people with autism.”