ICA trialling relaxed screenings

Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry to pioneer accessibility strategy

by Jennie Kermode

Elene Naveriani in Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry
Elene Naveriani in Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry

A special presentation of Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry at the ICA on 12 May will see the London cinema embark on a trial of relaxed screenings. These are designed to make cinema more accessible to people with sensory issues, some other neurodivergent people and disabled people who find that standard cinema environments don't work for them.

The screening will see the house lights slightly raised and volume levels lowered. Viewers will be able to move around and retreat to a quiet area if they feel overwhelmed. The film itself, by Georgian director Elene Naveriani, is gently paced, and although it includes some surprising moments there are no sudden loud noises or visuals designed to shock.

Relaxed screenings have been growing more popular around the world. The Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) was among the pioneers and has attracted a regular audience, going on to form partnerships with local charities which help to support people who often face social exclusion.

After the London screening, viewers who want to will be invited to meet in the cinema's upper gallery to discuss their thoughts on the film and their own experiences.

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