Closed Captions and Subtitles for Film Festivals

July 2, 2022 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: September 2, 2022

Beginner’s Guide to Closed Captions [FREE GUIDE]

Screening a film at any festival is an exciting yet emotional process for most filmmakers. It’s often the culmination of years of hard work, perseverance, and dedication to their craft. Media accessibility – a critical step to ensure each film is accessible to all members of an audience – is often one of the final steps in the process of preparing a film screening. This blog will discuss all of the things you need for your next festival screening, including closed captions, localization, or post-production scripts.

Closed Captioning for Film Festivals

Closed captioning is a great start and often a given in film festivals to ensure a D/deaf and hard of hearing audience can experience your film. If you haven’t already been provided with style and technical requirements for captions, reach out to your film festival point of contact and ask for these specs. They will typically include information on how captions should be formatted and what deliverables are accepted by the festival.

 Learn More About Captions in This FREE Guide: ➡️ 

Translation and Subtitles for Film Festivals

Now let’s think about the language of your content. Are there foreign languages spoken in your film? Foreign words on-screen that should be translated? Or is the film festival considered to be international? You may need translation or subtitling services, such as forced narrative subtitles, which translate specific parts of foreign dialogue or on-screen text to aid in viewer comprehension. Multilingual subtitles are another option that not only provide greater inclusivity and understanding, but also open the door to presenting your art on a global scale regardless of festival requirements.

Are your film festival specs also asking for post-production scripts? Can you just submit your film’s screenplay? Unfortunately not, as post-production scripts are designed to include exactly what is in the final cut of your film. Again, this where you’ll want to check in with the film festival specs. What kind of post-production script does the festival require? Is there a sample they can provide? Dialogue lists are a great example of post-production scripts that are requested on the international film festival circuit. These scripts provide verbatim dialogue transcription attributed by speakers, plus credits and musical cues, and are optimal for language translations.

Tips for Film Festival Accessibility

It’s important to remember that specs or schedules for film festivals may change at the last minute, especially in a world of live, virtual, and hybrid events. Here are a few key tips that can ease your prep process.

  • Plan ahead by building time into your production schedule to allow for your access services to be created.
  • Upon submission or acceptance into your film festival, confirm any media accessibility specs with your festival contact.
  • Keep these specs on hand when setting your project up with your media accessibility provider.

With 3Play Media, we’ll focus on making your content accessible at any film festival you’re featured in so you can concentrate on the art of filmmaking.


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