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Deutsche Hörfilm gGmbH (DHG) works as a nonprofit organisation on making visual media accessible for the blind and partially sighted. By means of audio description we open up movies for TV and DVD, as well as for theatres and exhibitions.

Audio description provides the listener with verbal description of visual content, illustrating in brief words central elements of a plot as well as facial expressions, body language, scenery, costumes. The description is incorporated into the film as a voice-over, typically confined to gaps in the normal dialogue.

DHG focuses on increasing the number of movies offered with audio description, maintaining information services for users as well as making other segments of cultural life accessible for blind and partially sighted people. DHG also provides training in the field of audio description. Cooperation partners include ZDF, Kinowelt, Universal and the International Film Festival of Berlin.

According to figures of the WHO, there are living approx. 165,000 blind and around a million partially sighted people in Germany. Just like sighted people they use television as their main media of entertainment. Audio description strengthens cultural participation of people with sight problems.

In 1998 the German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (DBSV) started the "Projekt Hörfilm", which was to create a growing awareness for audio description. In 2001 DHG succeeded "Projekt Hörfilm", with the DBSV as the only shareholder of the non-profit organisation.

Since its start as "Projekt Hörfilm" in 1998, DHG has created manifold impulses for the development of audio description. We have produced audio description for over 500 films for TV and DVD, among them "Dancer in the Dark", "Good bye Lenin" and "Sophie Scholl". But not only sheer figures mark the growing request for media accessible for the blind and partially sighted. For better accessibility, we introduced additional audio features for DVD, allowing a blind person to independently handle the main menue. In 1999, we took audio description to the big screen and have since been presenting two movies at the International Film Festival of Berlin each year. There we demonstrated for the first time digital audio description in Germany (2004: Dolby, 2005: DTS).

DHG produced forward-looking cinema performances such as presenting the movie "Die Blindgänger" on a nationwide audio description tour with 42 screenings in 24 cities with a total attendance of about 3.000 viewers.

In 2004 DHG received the Innovation Award of the Federal Government Commissioner for Cultural and Media Affairs.

For further information contact:
Deutsche Hörfilm gGmbH
Novalisstraße 10
10115 Berlin
Tel.: 0049 (0) 30 23 55 73 4 - 0
Fax: 0049 (0) 30 23 55 73 4 - 33
info@hoerfilm.de
www.hoerfilm.de