Virgin Atlantic Adds Dementia-Friendly Films to Inflight Entertainment

Virgin Atlantic collaborates with the Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) to offer dementia-friendly films on their flights.

Virgin Atlantic and the Women Over 50 Film Festival (WOFFF) have partnered to enhance the inflight experience for passengers with dementia.

Starting this month, a selection of short films from WOFFF will be available on Vera, Virgin Atlantic’s inflight entertainment system.

Chosen with assistance from Carers UK, these films are designed to provide a relaxing experience for travellers living with dementia.

Nuala O’Sullivan, founder of WOFFF, said, “We’re absolutely delighted to collaborate with Virgin Atlantic to improve the inflight experience for those living with dementia.

“There are 944,000 people living with dementia in the UK and 55 million worldwide. It’s important that they aren’t excluded from participating in everyday life, pursuing hobbies or experiencing travel.

“By expanding their inflight entertainment to include specific films for people living with dementia, Virgin Atlantic is making the magic of cinema accessible to so many more people.”

WOFFF, known for celebrating the work of older women in the film industry through its annual festival, also screens films in care homes around the UK and has worked with Carers UK to curate this programme for Virgin Atlantic.

Michael Shann of Carers UK commented, “This is a fantastic initiative towards creating more inclusive environments for people living with dementia and their families. We worked with the team at WOFFF to review several of their short films and selected the ones we believe are most appropriate for those living with dementia. We also felt these films could be enjoyed by anyone, so they’re perfect for family members or carers to watch too.”

The selected films are characterised by their gentle and engaging nature, using music and movement rather than dialogue to tell their stories.

From a soothing dance film by Scottish Ballet to an animated nature piece with soft, muted colours, each film was chosen for its calming and captivating qualities.

These films, previously featured at the Women Over 50 Film Festival, will be available on Vera from June to December 2024.

Vera’s dementia-friendly short film selection:

  • Entitled, director Adeyemi Michael
  • Eulogy for the Dandelion, director Gloria Civantos
  • Haud Close Tae Me, director Eve McConnachie
  • The Honeys and Bears, director Veena Rao
  • Lay Me Low, director Marlene Millar
  • Old Mother Blackbird, director Sophie Bancroft
  • Swim, director Maike Mahira Koller
  • Walks With Me, director Kati Kallio

Sophie Bancroft, director of Old Mother Blackbird, stated, “I am thrilled that my short film Old Mother Blackbird is part of this dementia-responsive programme.

“Inspired by an extraordinarily brave and loyal mother blackbird that set up nest in my garden in a wee village south of Edinburgh, Scotland, I’m thrilled to see her universal story of maternal love and family taking flight across the world.”

This dementia-friendly initiative is believed to be the first of its kind on any inflight entertainment system globally. The partnership coincides with Virgin Atlantic’s 40th anniversary, highlighting its commitment to inclusivity.

Sharon Noyau, Manager – Inflight Entertainment Content at Virgin Atlantic, said, “We’re committed to enhancing the travel experience for all customers, and so being able to expand our entertainment options with these thoughtful and inclusive films is something we’re very proud of. We hope our dementia-friendly short film selection will bring joy and comfort to our customers living with dementia and their families as they travel with us.”

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