Monthly Archives: February 2012

“Silent House” Welcomes The Vision Impaired

If you like getting scared out of your skin then mark March 9, 2012 on your calendars as that’s the date that the feature Silent House gets released in theaters! Even better, Descriptive Video Works has made the film accessible to those who often get ignored by the horror genre. Now the vision impaired can spend a couple of terrifying hours inside Silent House alongside the rest of the audience.

The film stars rising new talent, Elizabeth Olsen (seen in the critically acclaimed Martha Marcy May Marlene) who is the younger sister of twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Elizabeth plays Sarah, a young woman visiting her family’s dilapidated lakeshore home with her father. Things take a terrifying turn when they find themselves under attack by mysterious figures who somehow manage to seal up the home, trapping the unfortunate father and daughter inside. Attempting to escape the evil figures, a desperate and scared Sarah descends into an increasingly unhinged state of mind.

This isn’t the first time the film’s co-directors, Chris Kentis and Laura Lau, have successfully made audiences around the world scream for their lives. The duo were also responsible for the smash-hit shark-infested horror film Open Water.

Produced by production companies Elle Driver and Tazora Films and Distributed in the U.S. by Open Road Films (who also distributed the recent Liam Neeson thriller The Grey), Silent House is based on the Uruguayan film La Casa Muda which in turn was supposedly inspired by real events that took place in the 1940s. Other than the tiny budget the original Spanish language film was made on and the scares it gave audiences, the cult film also gained much notoriety for its camera work – The entire film unfolds in one single shot! Unlike Hitchcock’s Rope which followed a similar style but used trickery to hide the cuts, La Casa Muda is the real deal.

Thankfully the makers of Silent House retained the creative conceit of its original inspiration and we can report that it is VERY effective and highly unsettling! Unlike our Describers* who have to spend many, many hours creating the audio description scripts, you only have to survive for 90 minutes or terror… Think you can do it?

* We’re happy to report that this particular Describer is expected to make a full recovery!

Here’s a little taste of what to expect from Silent House when it is released in theaters on March 9th:


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Congratulations Dino Dan!

Last week the Daily Show‘s Samantha Bee handed out the 2012 Kidscreen Awards at the New York Hilton and among the worthy recipients was Dino Dan which won the award for Best One-Off, Special or TV Movie in the Pre-school category.

Descriptive Video Works has described 26+ episodes of Dino Dan since it began airing, significant not just because we love the show but because Dino Dan has been sold in more than 100 countries, was the number one episode download for for kids/family programming and has more than 3 million Youtube viewers. The show is exactly the kind of show that should be made accessible to children who suffer from vision impairment.

Here’s a sample of our work on the show:

Dino Dan follows the adventures of young paleontologist-in-training Dan Henderson (played by Jason Spevack) and his friends as they uncover clues about the the past and awesome dinosaur secrets. Combining live action with CGI dinosaurs, the show is produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment in Toronto, Canada.

Previously the show was nominated for a 2010 Gemini Award for Best Pre-School-to-4th Grade Program, won the Shaw Rocket Prize for Best Independently Produced Canadian Children’s, Youth or Family Program and the show’s cast won the 2011 Young Artist Award for Most Outstanding Young Ensemble in a TV Series.

On the heels of their Kidscreen Award, Sinking Ship Entertainment also recently scored a digital partnership deal with Ruckus Media which has been granted the rights to develop interactive eBooks and storybooks, enhanced eBooks and story-based Apps based on the series. So expect lots more Dan, dinosaurs, science and adventure from Dino Dan in the future!

Dino Dan can currently be seen on TVO Kids, Nick Jnr. and CTV.

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Descriptive Video Works Honored by Ernst & Young

Left to right: Lui Petrollini of Ernst & Young; Brent Craven DVW Technical Operations Director; Diane Johnson, DVW President & CEO; Kent Stephany, DVW Technician and Arran Henn, DVW Voice Talent

Diane Johnson, CEO of Descriptive Video Works appeared on the front page of the 2nd section in the National Post Newspaper on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 “Canadian Quality, Business Leaders  from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador honoured for their entrepreneurial talents.” Lui Petrollini from Ernst and Young visited the Vancouver Descriptive Video Works studio and presented a beautiful granite plaque to some of the staff to commemorate Johnson’s win.

Johnson is very proud of the high quality standards all her team commit to for each and every show.

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much“, a famous quote from Helen Keller, holds very true for the group at Descriptive Video Works. Each and every piece of the work that goes into making their programs accessible to those that are blind is important, the writing, the narration and the technical are important elements to a successful program that is audio described.

Colleen McMorrow, Canadian Leader, Entrepreneurial Services at Ernst & Young say that by necessity Canadian business leaders need to think big – “They need to think about growth beyond our own borders and particularly in emerging markets, you have to go where the growth is“. Descriptive Video Works opened their office in Los Angeles in March and the countdown is on. U.S. broadcasters now have only 5 months to provide audio description on their programs. Descriptive Video Works looks forward to working in the U.S. while still growing with the market in Canada.

Congratulations to all the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurs of the Year, an outstanding group of world class leaders. Dani Reiss of Canada Goose was named the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year and he will be attending the Entrepreneur of the World event representing Canada in Monto Carlo in June of 2012. From one successful Canadian company to another, we wish him well.
Check out all the outstanding winners from the Pacific region in the online edition of The National Post  here.

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