Boğaziçi University's cinema hall, SineBU, has been redesigned for those who are visually impaired. Films will now be verbally interpreted at SineBU in order to enable the visually impaired and other cinema lovers who have special needs to watch and listen to films together. Visually impaired individuals are able to follow the film via headphones, through which, the scenes that do not feature sound are described. The cinema hall has also been redesigned for the visually impaired and disabled individuals from top to bottom: The new design helps visually impaired individuals to find their seats, which have been marked in braille. The seats located in the back of the cinema hall were removed in order to make room for those who use a wheelchair. Organized in collaboration with the Boğaziçi University Visually Impaired Technology and Education Laboratory (GETEM), the SineBU screened "Aquarium" to inaugurate the redesign.
GETEM Director Engin Yılmaz said the cinema hall is a first-of-its-kind in Turkey. And as the film is described by a third person via headphones, the visually impaired are able to follow the film. "We want this cinema hall to set an example in Turkey. All cinema halls in Turkey should be redesigned so visually impaired individuals can use them," he said. According to Yılmaz, the technology in Turkey allowed montaging the descriptions onto the film, but that disturbed people who are not visually impaired. "We introduced this headphone technology for the first time in Turkey. Thanks to this technology, the visually impaired will listen to the description via headphones and they will watch films side-by-side with other cinema lovers," he said. In order to offer this service, Yılmaz said the cinema hall has to feature the necessary technological infrastructure. Yılmaz said a total of 15 artists in Turkey verbally describe films. He said they have compiled the verbal descriptions of 350 films and a few TV series. "This is the first cinema hall in Turkey that was redesigned for disabled people. This cinema hall is symbolic. We showed people that accessible cinema halls can be built," Yılmaz said. Currently, GETEM is working on a project that will enable hearing-impaired people to also easily watch films. SineBU will screen "Abluka" (Frenzy) this week.