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News Archive

For immediate release
November 21, 2002

New Video Releases with Description For Blind Audiences Available
from DVS® Home Video®

Media Access Group at WGBH Issues New DVS Home Video Catalogue
BOSTON, MA - DVS Home Video, an initiative of the Media Access Group at WGBH, announces the availability of six new and two classic film titles on home video -- fully described for viewers who are blind or visually impaired. The newly released films include Spider-Man, Scooby-Doo, Insomnia, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Bridget Jones's Diary and Lilo & Stitch.

Due to popular demand from consumers, DVS Home Video will from time to time re-release titles that have been retired from our catalogue. We are pleased to offer two true Hollywood classics, "Casablanca" and "Singin' in the Rain" as the first of these titles.

DVS Home Video also announces that another of last summer's blockbuster hits -- Signs will be available as of January 7. Please note that although copies of Signs can be ordered now, it can not be shipped until January 7.

  • Spider-Man:After being bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy high school student gains spider-like abilities, which he must eventually use to fight evil as a superhero. This blockbuster film stars Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe, Rosemary Harris and James Franco. Columbia/TriStar Home Entertainment, Rated PG-13
  • Scooby-Doo:Zoinks! Two years after Mystery, Inc. goes out of business due to personal conflicts, Scooby-Doo and his crime-solving gang reunite to investigate paranormal incidents on Spooky Island. Starring Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Linda Cardellini and Scooby-Doo. Warner Home Video, Rated PG
  • Insomnia:Set in a small Alaskan town with an ever-shining midnight sun, this psychological thriller stars Al Pacino and Hilary Swank as detectives trying to crack a murder, while Robin Williams gives a creepy performance as the chief suspect. Warner Home Video, Rated R
  • Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: Sandra Bullock, Ellen Burstyn, Ashley Judd, Maggie Smith and James Garner star in this comedy/drama about a modern-day mother-daughter rift and how enduring friendships and childhood secrets help to repair it. Warner Home Video, Rated PG-13
  • Bridget Jones's Diary:This romantic comedy features Oscar-nominee Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones -- a fun-loving, 30-something Brit. While trying to find true love, Bridget decides to turn over a new page in her life by channeling her thoughts, opinions and insecurities into a journal that becomes a hilarious chronicle of her adventures. Also starring Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. Miramax Home Entertainment, Rated R
  • Lilo & Stitch:Lilo, a young Hawaiian orphan, adopts an unusual pet named Stitch, that turns out to be a notorious, extraterrestrial fugitive. This creative animated feature from Disney is a bright and edgy comedy about friendship and finding your place -- even if you come from two different worlds. Walt Disney Home Video, Rated PG
  • Casablanca:Rick and Ilsa, Victor Lazlo, Sam and his piano, Nazis, gambling, planes and rain. It's all there, and it's all described. MGM/UA Home Video, not rated
  • Singin' in the Rain:More rain, this time with singing and the dancing artistry of Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor. MGM/UA Home Video, Rated G
  • Signs:****Available January 7, 2003**** In Bucks County, Pennsylvania, crop circles are found on the farm of Graham Hess (played by Mel Gibson), the town's recently retired reverend. The circles cause a media frenzy and test Hess's faith as he journeys to find out the truth behind them. Also starring Joaquin Phoenix, Cherry Jones, Rory Culkin and Abigail Breslin. Written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense). Touchstone Home Video, Rated PG-13

These and other described films can now be purchased through the 2003 DVS Home Video catalogue. To request a catalog in the mail, call 1-888-818-1181 (large print version) or 1-888-818-1999 (braille version). Over 1,300 public libraries nationwide maintain DVS Home Video collections for loan to visitors free of charge.

The DVS Home Video project was founded in 1991 with funding from the US Department of Education -- a response to requests from the consumers who are blind for visually impaired seeking access to major home video releases. Unlike closed captioning, description tracks can not be hidden in the video, requiring separate distribution mechanism to provide accessible videos. The Media Access Group at WGBH developed and continues to maintain a description production and distribution system for open described videos. The Group is currently working with home video distributors, urging them to offer films that were described for theatrical release via the DVS Theatrical system now in select theaters in the U.S. and Canada (more information at

As DVDs become an increasingly popular consumer product, demand also is growing to make fully accessible DVDs available. The enhanced technological capacity of DVDs enables studios to provide captioning for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, description for viewers who are blind or visually impaired and audio navigation, which enables those viewers to access DVD features without the assistance of a sighted person. The American Experience documentary Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided DVD as well as Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind DVD are currently available from PBS Home Video. The Collector's Edition DVD of Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas from Universal Home Entertainment is also available at DVD retailers nationwide. The Media Access Group at WGBH provided description captioning and audio navigation features for these DVDs.

The Media Access Group at WGBH, with offices in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, is a non-profit service of Boston public broadcaster WGBH. The service group includes Descriptive Video Service®, which has made television, film and video more enjoyable to viewers who are blind or visually impaired since 1990, as well as The Caption Center -- the world's first captioning agency -- founded in 1972. The third branch of the Media Access Group, the CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM), is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. Members of the Group's collective staff represent the leading resources and experts in their fields. For more information, visit

Press contact:
Mary Watkins
Media Access Group at WGBH
(617) 300-3700
(617) 300-2489 TTY

Caption Services Description Services NCAM