Monthly Archives: September 2011

AMD Awareness Week

This week from September 24 to September 30, is AMD Awareness Week 2011.

AMD (Age related Macular Degeneration) is an eye disease that causes loss of central vision leaving only peripheral, or side, vision intact. Reflecting the growing older populations of the developed world, it accounts for 19-30% of visual impairment.

In 2009 AMD Alliance International commissioned a leading independent economic consulting firm to conduct a comprehensive study on the worldwide economic and health burdens of visual impairment and the results were staggering.

Here are just a few of the findings of the study:

Global cost of visual impairment in 2010: US$ 2,954 billion (this is equal to an average cost of US$ 434 for every individual with or without visual impairment).

Cost of visual impairment due to AMD: US$ 343 billion (12% of the global cost).

Direct health health system costs due to AMD in 2010: US$ 255 billion.

In addition to the worldwide economic burden, those suffering from visual impairment experience a reduced quality of life, greater difficulty with daily living and social dependence, higher rates of clinical depression, twice the rate of premature death, an increased risk of falls and related hip fractures and premature admission to nursing homes.

Worldwide, people with visual impairment were deprived of the equivalent of 118 million years of healthy life due to disability and premature death in 2010.

As for the future, the projections for 2020 serve only to underline the importance of action being taken. By the year 2020 there is expected to be 929 million people worldwide suffering from visual impairment – a 27% increase from 2010. The financial cost by 2020 will be US$ 3,527 billion.

Surprisingly, most visual impairment can be avoided or treated with well known and inexpensive methods.

Education and raising awareness forms a large part of reducing the future financial burden as well as the other burdens vision impairment brings. Making the world more accessible to those already suffering from AMD and other forms of visual impairment makes a huge difference and Media Accessibility in particular, forms an important part of this which is why companies like Descriptive Video Works exist.

Please share this article and do your part to educate and inform. For more information on AMD and the strategies that must be put in place to reduce rising vision impairment burdens, please visit AMD Alliance International.


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Experiencing The World of Darkness

In the last few months two different exhibitions on two different continents have opened to the public, both giving visitors the a unique, interactive journey into dark, invisible worlds.

In Prague, visitors to the New Town Hall are shown what life is like when deprived of the sense that gives them the most information – their sight. The Invisible Exhibition poses the question, “Imagine that you find yourself in total darkness. Can an hour of blindness open your eyes?” Groups of blindfolded visitors are led by a blind guide through everyday environments and situations while their guide shows them various devices and objects that they use in everyday life such as Braille and talking clocks. The aim of the exhibition is to show visitors that blindness need not be a disability and that the world can still be a beautiful place even when deprived of a sense most of us take for granted.

The exhibition runs until April 2013. A similar project held in Budapest over the last three years has attracted more than 150,000 visitors.

Meanwhile, in New York last month, Premier Exhibitions Inc. opened its doors to the public for Dialog In The Dark. Premier Exhibitions is the same company behind the blockbuster exhibits BODIES and Titantic: The Artefact Exhibition.

Like The Invisible Exhibition, visitors to Dialog In The Dark are led by visually impaired guides but there are no blindfolds here – the entire exhibit has been specially constructed in darkness. Prior to entering the exhibit, visitors are given walking canes and given a tutorial on how best to use them. For the next 45 minutes they are in total darkness as they experience a series of New York themed environments complete with scents, sounds, temperatures and textures designed to give an unforgettable experience.

All the guides for Dialog In The Dark have been recruited from the non-profit organisation Lighthouse International which has been dedicated to fighting vision loss through prevention, treatment and empowerment for over a century.

Originated by Andreas Heinecke and exclusively licensed to Premier Exhibitions, the concept and design of Dialog In The Dark has, over the last twenty years, been showcased in more than 35 countries bringing the unique experience to five million visitors. Dialog In The Dark is open 7 days a week, at New York’s South Street Seaport on Atlantic Drive and 18th Street.

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Who, What, When, Where, Why… A new season of W-5!

When most people are clocking out of their work places at 5pm on a Friday we at Descriptive Video Works are usually hard at work ensuring that the Canadian news magazine show, W5 is turned around quickly and sent back to CTV in time for airing less than 24hrs later.

This coming Saturday at 7pm marks the first new episode of W5’s new season which is the longest-running current affairs/news magazine program in North America. Launched in 1966, the program’s format is considered an inspiration for similarly styled shows, including 60 Minutes which premiered 2 years later.

Often controversial, W5 represents some of the best investigative journalism in the country as they delve deep into such stories as miscarriages of justice, dodgy car mechanics, drug dealers, consumer scammers and harrowing human interest stories… And for those of you who are already missing Lloyd Robertson since he retired as anchor of CTV news, he will be making regular guest host appearances on W5 together with Sandie Rinaldo.

W5 premieres Saturday, September 17 on CTV at 7pm.

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Festival Fever Is Upon Us!

Last week the Toronto International Film Festival kicked off and in just a few weeks thousands of movie lovers will be descending on numerous theaters in Vancouver for the 29th Vancouver International Film Festival. Among the many films screening that were made in British Columbia, is Donovan’s Echo which we were delighted to provide with descriptive video services.

Donovan’s Echo marks the feature directorial debut of Jim Cliffe who co-wrote the film with Melodie Krieger. The film tells the story of a regretful mathematician who helped develop the atomic bomb and who has spent his life obsessed with making a positive contribution to the scientific community, neglecting his family and friends in the process and bringing about a tragic accident. Returning home 30yrs later, he discovers uncanny similarities between random events in the present and those from the past. Convinced that history is set to repeat itself, Donovan risks everything to break the cycle and save an unsuspecting family from the same tragic fate.

Donovan’s Echo stars Danny Glover (Dream GirlsLethal Weapon, The Color Purple) as Donovan and also features Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek, Thirteen Days, The Sweet Hereafter), Ian Tracy (Intelligence, Da Vinci’s Inquest), Chelah Horsdal (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Sonja Bennett (Godivas).

The Vancouver International Film Festival runs from September 29 to October 14. For a complete list of films screening together with information on how to purchase tickets or attend the Film and TV Forum visit the VIFF website.

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Last week the 26th Annual Gemini Awards took place in Toronto recognizing and celebrating excellence in Canadian television. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the many winners and nominees who were honored for their amazing work. Among the cream of the crop in Canadian talent were several shows we have provided descriptive video services for in the last 12 months including Ice Pilots NWT and Dino Dan. Both of these shows are coincidentally, in our show reel as examples of the work we do. You can view them along with others demos here.

Congratulations must also be given to Corus Entertainment, Nelvana Enterprises and Thunderbird Films whose live-action comedy series Mr. Young has just been sold to Disney XD in the U.S. and around the world.

Filmed in front of a live studio audience in Vancouver, Mr. Young stars Brendan Meyer as Adam, a whiz kid and teen boy genius who first attended university at the age of 9… Now 14 years old, Adam is headed back to High School… as a teacher! The same age as his students, Adam finds himself trapped between two worlds – the world of the lunch room and the world of the staff room.

Descriptive Video Works has to date, described more than 28 episodes of Mr. Young and are thrilled that viewers all around the world will now be able to follow his hilarious adventures.

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Coming Soon: “InSecurity” Season 2

After a successful introductory season of the CBC action-comedy TV series, InSecurity, we were delighted to hear that the show had been picked up for Season 2. Especially since we described all 13 episodes of Season 1 and will be providing video description for all of the up-coming episodes of Season 2.

InSecurity follows a team of CSIS-like super-spys working for N.I.S.A. (the National Intelligence Security Agency) who are quite often not as super as one might expect. In fact, the team is often completely inept… and yet they always manage to bungle their way through dire situations that threaten national security and save the day. Fear not Canada, you’re in safe hands – well, kind of…!

InSecurity was Created and is Executive Produced by Kevin White of Company Name Here Productions and Robert de Lint and Virginia Thompson of Verite Films, the same team behind the hit show Corner Gas (all 107 episodes of Corner Gas were described by Descriptive Video Works).

InSecurity stars Natalie Lisinska as sassy team leader Alex Cranston, William deVry as the smooth-talking NISA director Peter McNeill, Richard Yearwood as former Ligerian Secret Service agent Benjamin N’Udu, Remy Girard as French-Canadian agent Claude Lesage, Matthew MacFadzean as naive agent Burt Wilson and Grace Lynn Kung as cold as ice agent Jojo Kwan.

Described by one of the show’s writers as “24 without Jack Bauer, C.S.I. minus the science and James Bond if James Bond were Mr. Bean,” Season 2 of InSecurity premieres this Fall on CBC.

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