Innovative Policy 2018 on Accessibility

Making the cinema accessible for all throughout Colombia

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of Colombia (MINTIC) set out a roadmap called Live Digital for the People (Plan Vive Digital para la Gente) to promote access, effective use and massive appropriation of ICT, through policies and programs to improve the quality of life of every Colombian and increase sustainable development. Based on this initiative, with the purpose of making the digital world accessible to all Colombians, MINTIC developed Cinema for Everyone (Cine para Todos) a project that enables people with disabilities, in particular with visual and hearing impairments, to enjoy the cinema for free and even create their own movies.

About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:
  • Live Digital for the People, a public initiative
  • Law 361 (1997): Disability Law specifies the rights of people with disabilities and establishes obligations and responsibilities regarding the implementation of policies, strategies, programs, and initiatives that support their social integration
  • National Development Plan, 2014–2018
  • Responsible Body:Ministry of Information and Communications Technology of Colombia
    of Implementation


    • From its start in 2013 until late 2017 more than 76,000 people with disabilities have benefitted from Cinema for Everyone
    • The project has been rolled-out in 25 of the country’s 32 departments.
    • In 2016, 336 people with disabilities participated with 59 short films in a national film festival.


    In Colombia the attendance of people with disabilities at places of entertainment, specifically cinemas, is very low because the audiovisual content is not accessible.


    MINTIC is reducing regulatory and tax barriers to facilitate the development of accessible infrastructure and the availability of telecommunications services, as well as prioritizing state capital investments into digital accessibility. This promotes the involvement of the private sector, encouraging them to expand infrastructure and offer more services. For the Cinema for Everyone project, MINTIC has partnered with the Saldarriaga Concha Foundation (a Colombian foundation that works for the inclusion of all people) to implement the various elements of the strategy, and with Cine Colombia (the largest film distribution company in the country), which has agreed to make their venues accessible.
    Three elements have been incorporated to make film content more accessible:

    1. Audio description enabling people with visual impairments to listen by means of a system installed at the cinema or a free app for mobile phones, with a description and narration of the complete plot and content appearing on the screen.
    2. Sign language interpretation enabling people with hearing impairments to visualize, using a device in the cinema or a free mobile phone app in Colombian sign language.
    3. Enabling deaf or visually impaired people to read subtitles displayed in high contrast colors on the screen.

    Another innovative component of the project is that the users can also participate as creators of movies. In association with Smart Films (a festival of films made with smartphones), Colombians with any type of disability can make short films of not more than five minutes with their cell phones, and thus compete for a prize of 25 million pesos (about €7,000). In 2016, 336 people with disabilities participated in the festival, creating 59 short films.
    Since its start in 2013, more than 76,000 people have attended Cinema for Everyone films. In 2017, as of November, 21,707 people had attended accessible films in Colombia, where they are played in 13 cinemas in 12 cities throughout the country on the last Saturday of every month.


    The methodology developed in Cinema for Everyone is readily adaptable to other contexts. As a government initiative, the advocacy process has so far focused largely on cinemas to involve them in financially supporting the project. By reducing regulatory hurdles and providing financial incentives, cinema owners are being encouraged to make their facilities more accessible, thereby meeting the supply of and demand for digital services.

    During 2017, MINTIC developed an app and a free download that allows people with disabilities to enjoy a wide catalogue of audio descriptions, sign language, and subtitles corresponding to the audio-visual contents developed by this project. In 2017 over 3,500 people have downloaded the app, and users are expected to increase over time.

    MINTIC is advancing a sustainability study for the project, which should help to identify what actions are needed to involve more cinemas so that more Colombians can participate in the experience and, importantly, to help the project become financially self-sufficient. Currently, it is financed by the government.


    Andrea Carolina Gonzalez
    Subdirector of Appropriation


    Download factsheet as accessible pdf


    Watch Video of the Zero Project Award Ceremony