20.11.08

Audiovisual Aid for Africa

AUTHOR: Inavate

Open Air Cinema is taking film to remote areas of Africa with its inflatable screens and CineBox product. The US based cinema equipment company says the film screenings can deliver educational messages or entertaining films to help audiences of several thousand people in previously hard to reach areas of the vast continent. NGOs and small businesses are benefiting from a subsidised programme.

CineBox includes an inflatable screen, between 3 and 12m in size; a digital projector; DVD players; a sound mixer and cabling. This solution provides NGOs with a portable, durable set-up.

“With the infrastructure challenges that are common throughout Africa, we are offering NGOs an effective and enticing new medium to deliver critical information and needed entertainment,” said Stuart Farmer, president of Open Air Cinema. “Our inflatable movie screens and systems can be made available anywhere, even in the bush, so NGOs can now deliver consistent messages – through training films about AIDS awareness or women’s rights or an entertaining movie to help elevate the moral of those in the audience.”

Inflatable screens have been used by the United Nations and FilmAid in refugee camps in Kenya and Tanzania. The screens are also used for “Hillywood”, the travelling Rwandan film festival. Movies featuring filmmakers from Rwanda and other African states are shown on the inflatable screens in seven locations over seven days. Up to 10,000 people attend each showing.

Eric Kabera, founder of the Rwanda Cinema Center, said: “We take our film festival to remote areas of Rwanda to bring the magic of cinema to a people who desperately need it.

“Many people in this region have never seen a film, and we are working to educate and inspire them and open their eyes to the world of achievable possibilities.”

Welcoming the move to bring the technology to Africa, Farmer said it was an “ideal medium” for the continent adding: “To show a film, you don’t have to own the land, it can be in an open field. Everything can fit in a Land Rover including the screen, projector, speakers, a sound mixer and a generator for remote outdoor viewing.”