Movin’ Mountains Therapy Services has partnered with the Royal Theatre (Above; theatre owner Lisa Milne) to bring Trail’s first ever screenings of a sensory friendly film called the Emoji Movie, which shows for a second time on Thursday, Aug. 3. For more information, contact Movin’ Mountains at 778.456.0020. Submitted photo

Trail’s first sensory-friendly movie offers new choices for families

The Emoji Movie, will screen as a sensory-friendly movie at the Royal Theatre, Aug. 3 at 11 am.

Update: A second sensory-friendly screening of the Emoji Movie plays at the Royal Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 3 at 11 a.m.

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Original story, July 28;

Families are invited to express themselves by getting up and dancing, even singing, during a special showing at 11 a.m. in the Royal Theatre on Saturday.

Lights will be up and sound turned downed for the Emoji Movie – Trail’s first ever sensory friendly screening of a family-friendly film.

The animated story of Gene, a cheerful emoji with multiple expressions, is being brought to the community in a partnership between the Bay Avenue theatre and Movin’ Mountains Therapy Service.

Sounds fun, but what exactly is a sensory friendly movie?

The Trail Times talked with Tamsin Snodgrass and Christine Therriault-Finke, an occupational therapist and physiotherapist respectively, from the Trail-based Movin’ Mountains clinic, which offers comprehensive therapy services.

“A sensory friendly movie is one that is adjusted from the typical movie experience to be more comfortable for our senses; sight, sound, touch, smell, taste, movement,” Snodgrass replied.

“We are all different with varying degrees of tolerance and preference when it comes to our senses. For example, some individuals are sensitive to loud noises or strong smells, and this can make an experience like going to the movies a bit challenging.”

In a sensory friendly movie, the lights are dimmed, but not as dark as a regular showing, and the audio is not as loud, nor is it surround sound.

“The other ways that we have adapted the experience is to allow for movement,” she explained.

The typical ‘silence is golden’ and ‘stay in your seats’ rules do not apply.

“We will have a designated space in the reception area of the theatre that will be a calming room for people to retreat to if they are feeling overwhelmed by the movie,” Snodgrass added.

“We are also limiting the number of tickets to allow for the comfort and space to move. It is going to be really fun for both kids and adults.”

So, who would best enjoy a sensory friendly viewing of the Emoji Movie?

“This type of movie experience is perfect for those that generally feel overwhelmed in large crowds and loud spaces,” said Therriault-Finke.

”People who have a hard time remaining seated and quiet for extended periods of time will also benefit from the opportunity to be themselves in an accepting and understanding environment,” she explained.

“Our goal with this event is to remove the barriers that many people (both adults and kids) experience and provide an opportunity for them to get out and have fun watching a movie.”

And the therapists encourage families come out and watch the Emoji Movie together.

“Going to the movies with our friends and family is a fond memory that so many of us have,” said Therriault-Finke.

However, many families struggle with the environment of a regular movie showing because their loved ones are simply not comfortable with extreme darkness, loud noises or crowded venues.

“This showing is also a fantastic opportunity for parents to bring their young children who have never been to the movie theatre before,” she shared. “It will be less overwhelming for them and they will be able to take breaks and move around.”

The mission at Movin’ Mountains is to empower and support individuals and their families to overcome barriers, live well and do the things that they love to do.

“Going to the movies is one of the many things we hear from families that they want to do, but feel restricted in accessing with their kids,” said Snodgrass.

“Being able to collaborate with local businesses, like the Royal Theatre, in providing inclusive settings and experiences for families, helps to remove barriers that many face and allows our community to grow together and push the boundaries,” she added.

”It brings awareness to the unique needs that we all have, and it fosters acceptance, understanding and inclusivity.

“We have already received so much positive feedback from the public, and we are excited about the possibility of continuing to support families and businesses to move mountains!”

An encore sensory friendly screening of the Emoji Movie is slated for the Royal Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 3 at 11 a.m.

Doors open at 10:30 a.m., tickets are $8.

For more information, contact Movin’ Mountains at 778.456.0020.

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