- Sundance jury members walked out of a screening of “Magazine Dreams”
- The jurors reportedly left after noticing that the film did not have captioning for the deaf and hearing-impaired
- Sundance’s CEO addressed the incident and vowed to improve their service
A technical error seemingly prompted Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition jury members to walk out of the premiere of “Magazine Dreams” at the film festival Friday night.
The jury members who left consisted of Marlee Matlin, Jeremy O. Harris and Eliza Hittman. The trio walked out of the venue after noticing that the film did not have adequate captioning for deaf and hearing-impaired audience members, including Matlin, Variety first reported.
Matlin first noticed the issue when the caption device provided to her did not work. Though the issue was addressed hours later, it shed light on the shortcomings of the festival to make the movie screenings accessible to all viewers, according to the outlet.
“Our goal is to make all experiences (in person and online) as accessible as possible for all participants. Our accessibility efforts are, admittedly, always evolving and feedback helps drive it forward for the community as a whole,” Sundance CEO Joana Vicente said in a statement in response to the incident.
The jurors have since reached out to the organizers through a letter urging filmmakers to provide captioning in their films. The trio also indicated that they plan to see “Magazine Dreams” at another screening, Deadline has learned.
“We have all traveled to Utah to celebrate independent film and those who devote their lives to making them … As a jury, our ability to celebrate the work that all of you have put into making these films has been disrupted by the fact that they are not accessible to all three of us,” read a portion of their letter.
The jury members’ decision to see another screening of the movie was echoed in Vicente’s statement. The CEO also noted that they will continue to improve their service to better serve the community.
“The screening device used to provide closed captions did not work at one of our Friday evening premieres. The jury left so that they could see it together at another time during the Festival. Our team immediately worked with the devices in that venue to test them again for the next screening and the device worked without any malfunction,” Vicente said.
“Our team has done extraordinary work in this area, but there is always more work to do. We all still need to do more as we learn and consider the community at large,” she concluded.
“Magazine Dreams,” which stars Jonathan Majors, Haley Bennett, Harriet Sansom Harris, Taylour Paige and Harrison Page, is the second feature film directed by Elijah Bynum, Deadline noted in a separate report about the movie.