Bangor Mall Cinemas hosts sensory friendly movie showing | News

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Bangor Mall Cinemas hosts sensory friendly movie showing

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Now that we are right in the middle of the summer blockbuster movie series, the theaters are filled with superhero and action movies, filled with explosions and eye popping special effects, however if you were a person who had sensory issues that made loud noises and and bright lights jarring or frightening, that experience would be too difficult to tolerate.  That's exactly why the Bangor Mall Cinemas hosted what is known as a sensory friendly or gentle view showing this morning of the movie "Brave". 

"You know summer movies are really loud you can almost feel it inside your chest with the explosions and kinds of things," explains Shane Leonard, who inquired about having a sensory friendly movie at the theater for his girlfriend's son, who has autism and can't tolerate loud noises and dark theaters. 

"One of the things I wanted to do was to go to movies with him, bring him here and it's not an easy thing to do because of some sensory difficulties," explained Shane.

So Shane asked Sue Bragdon, the General Manager of the Bangor Mall Cinemas to do a sensory friendly show and she agreed.  She had heard of other theater chains doing this, but for the Bangor Mall Cinemas it was a first.  About 50 people showed up for the Monday morning 11:00 o'clock showing , and a lot more inquired about it after just about a weeks worth of advance notice on the theater's facebook page.

"When Shane approached me I had some knowledge of it, what I did not know was the community here in Bangor that would get behind this, and that's been fabulous," Bragdon said.

The show is open to the public, but there are some obvious differences: the lights are brighter, the sound is turned down, and talking is tolerated.

"If you're excited in the theater and you're making a noise that's ok, the biggest thing about these kind of experiences is the atmosphere (is) more non-judgmental total acceptance of things where as if you and I went to the movies and someone's kicking our chair, or in front of us texting, these would be distractions," Leonard said.

Bragdon says that the Bangor Mall Cinemas plans to do more of these type of shows. She would like to hold one on a weekend day if possible to accommodate the wishes of the people who said they could not make today's showing because they were working.