Fest More Accessible for Those with Disabilities

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TRAVERSE CITY — Film Festival organizers confronted dozens of accessibility issues since the event's inception, from moving people in wheelchairs into seating areas in the Old Town Playhouse to providing closed-captioning for a festival that last year sold more than 91,000 tickets.

But the Bijou Theater's opening surpassed all previous efforts, said Susan Odgers, long-time film festival patron and a consultant for accessibility.

"The success of the re-purposing of the former Con Foster Museum, built in 1935, defies the argument that a historic building can't be made accessible to everyone." she said.

Odgers toured the newly opened theater on Monday and said she's astounded by features built into the theater to improve accessibility. Odgers, who has been confined to a wheel chair since 1976, said the new theater will allow those with disabilities to focus more on enjoying a film screening and less on hurdles they must overcome to attend.

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