October 8th 2020: IFI is proud to announce it has won the third annual Europa Cinemas Innovation Prize for its ground-breaking Access Film Initiative.

Initiated with the support of Creative Europe/MEDIA, the Prize celebrates standout innovative projects and approaches by network cinemas. It consists of an award of €10,000, and a commitment from the winner to use the money to invest further in the cinema’s innovation policy.

Based on the principle of equal access, the Access Film Initiative originated in a piece of research supported by Arts Disability Ireland and the Arts Council of Ireland that has been launched to make cultural cinema accessible to audiences with disability (deaf/hard of hearing or blind/vision impaired) through the inclusion of accessible screenings of new releases in the IFI monthly programme.

The Access Film Initiative combines various initiatives, working together to yield a whole new cinema experience for previously hard to reach audiences. The project comprised a wide spectrum of elements such as regular accessible screenings, a building audit, technology upgrades, staff training, online audience survey, marketing and promotion of accessible screenings to relevant organisations, focus group meetings and evaluation as well as best practice recommendations.

Speaking at the announcement, Ross Keane IFI Director/CEO, said, ‘IFI is delighted to receive the third annual Europa Cinemas Innovation Prize. Making cinema accessible to the widest audience possible is one of our ongoing key strategic objectives, and this prize is a very welcome recognition of the work we have undertaken to date. We look forward to continuing and expanding upon this important initiative into 2021 and beyond.’

The winner was chosen by a Jury of four film experts: Christian Thomas (CEO, Distributor, Imagine Films, Belgium); Boglarka Nagy (Executive Director CICAE, Romania/Europe); Laura Houlgatte (CEO of UNIC, Belgium/Europe) and Jean-Marc Lalo (Architect, Atelier Architecture Lalo, France)

The Jury commented, “The Access Film Initiative is framed within a social model of disability and is aimed at removing the barriers that have prevented blind/vision-impaired or deaf/HOH people from enjoying cultural cinema. This is an exemplary programme to engage audiences and can truly inspire other Network members or organisations wishing to develop their audiences through best practice guidelines. Together with Europa Cinemas, the Jury unanimously congratulates the Irish Film Institute for this well-deserved prize.”

The IFI is supported
by The Arts Council

Arts Council of Ireland