Archive | FilmAid International

What’s trending in open air cinema in Eastern Africa in 2015

Pius John Mbeshere (in the middle) (photo from his Facebook profile)

Pius John Mbeshere (in the middle) (photo from his Facebook profile)

Following the publication of our post about developing the culture of Open Air Cinema in Tanzania last week, our long-time friend in the Eastern African nation, Pius John Mbeshere kindly shared the results already obtained over there.

Given Pius’ experience of work for FilmAid International on the border with Burundi and with Openair Media Communications offering mass screenings of awareness-raising films, it was an enlightening conversation.

What is your history with Open Air Cinema?

History started in 2007 when for the first time I heard about Stuart Farmer, president of Open Air Cinema in the United States. We exchanged emails between me and Open Air Cinema through FilmAid International answering questions with regard to equipment that Open Air Cinema was willing to donated to FilmAid International. In July 2007, we gave a warm welcome to Stuart Farmer who landed in the country with his donation of high-tech outdoor equipment in Kibondo (refugee-populated district in western part of Tanzania).

Discussion between me and Stuart gave me a full picture of what Open Air Cinema is. Together with Stuart and my technical crew, we held several lovely events in a refugee camp — twice a week for two weeks.

In 2008, I got an opportunity to visit Open Air Cinema Global HQ in Utah and worked in different departments as well as accompanied Open Air Cinema event’s team, helped set up and operate equipment. Memorable and notable events were Bridal Vail Falls Film Festival –proceeds from which benefit Rwanda Cinema Center — and one event in Hollywood.

What are the most exciting moments you had around the outdoor movie screenings in Tanzania?

Before I learned about Open Air Cinema, we had great moments when for almost five years we would project film onto a big screen tied up on two mounted containers or sometimes using a flat-bed truck. It was tiresome to install the whole system but it was exciting to entertain, educate and advocate issues through the use of films in Tanzania.

The most exciting moment came when in 2007 I started communicating with Stuart Farmer — I call him ‘my role model’ — about his intention to introduce new outdoor cinema technology to Tanzania. This was an unforgettable moment when my technical crew together with Stuart inflated a giant Open Air Cinema outdoor movie screen before an excited crowd in a refugee camp. Everyone: kids, youths and the elders were totally amazed by this technology and a mass of people attended this event.

In 2008 refugee operations in western Tanzania were reduced and gradually phased out by the government of Tanzania. Stuart Farmer invited me to visit Open Air Cinema in Utah, where he donated to me a set of outdoor screening equipment. I took it back home. We established a small media firm called Openair Media Communications.  We managed to host some free outdoor movie events using this set of equipment specifically working with Embassies (2010 FIFA World Cup final match England vs USA  at UK embassy in Tanzania) and other development institutions such as Under the Same Sun, Medecins du Monde, USAID and Media For Development International in Tanzania.

2012 – 2014. Openair Media Communications secured a project called “Giving the Voice to Youth at Risks” that was funded by Tanzania Media Fund and Medecin du Monde. One of the exciting moments during this project was that a community of drug users got an opportunity to raise their voices before the government and community at large on issues concerning their daily life. We filmed and interviewed the drug users, edited the film and projected it onto our Open Air Cinema outdoor screen in Dar es Salaam, the capital city of Tanzania.

What are the fields and communities that can benefit the most from Open Air Cinema technology in Tanzania?

Entertainment and education. Communities that can benefit from Open Air Cinema technology are refugees. There is another influx of refugees from Burundi coming back to Tanzania due to unstable security in this country. Tanzanians who like sports and games and development projects.

But according to my experience and knowledge community will benefit a lot through establishment of social business/entrepreneurship projects (development projects in general) where we will focus on solving community’s problems while doing business. This is where we can bring in Open Air Cinema Foundation.

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Open Air Cinema’s Screening of Haitian Presidential Debates in Camp Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

outdoor movies haiti

Last night was our fourth outdoor movie screening of the Haitian Presidential debates, this time in camp Carrefour, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Mayor of Port-au-Prince invited us to screen the debates within the city courtyard, and the fire department assisted in security and setting up the screening. We have a few more inflatable movie screenings of the first round of debates, and then we’ll be showing the second round in advance of the elections on Sunday.

The local production crew is learning the OAC Cinebox outdoor movie system well, and set up last night without much assistance from the OAC technicians. The portable movie screen, outdoor projector, and outdoor speaker system were setup with ease. Overall the production went very well, and several hundred Camp residents attended and watched the debates.

Today will be screening the debates at camp Champ-de-Mars, right in downtown Port-au-Prince. We anticipate thousands of locals to be in attendance at tonight’s screenings, and we look forward to updating the blog with images and a report with how things went. Below are some images from last night’s outdoor movie screening at Camp Carrefour.

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

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Open Air Cinema’s Screening of Haitian Presidential Debates in Camp Villaembetta, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

outdoor movies haiti

Today marked the third day of the screening of the first round of the presidential debates, today in camp Villaembetta in Port-au-Prince Haiti. The outdoor movie screening was as successful as days past, as we worked with FilmAid International and crews of local Haitians in producing the event. Each day’s screening requires meeting with the local camp leaders and receiving permission to screen the debates, as well as arranging for a proper location for the setup of the inflatable movie screen and system equipment.

Camp Villaembetta was about 45 minutes away from our operational base, and we began setup around 3 PM. For a moment we thought the weather would bring rain to our event, and so we were prepared with tarps and plastic to cover the outdoor projector and outdoor speaker system if it started to pour. Luckily, we only saw a very slight drizzle, and all of the equipment remained safe and in working order.

In addition to screening the presidential debates, we also showed several films about voting, hygiene, and camp life.  The residents of camp Villaembetta were particularly excited to view their favorite Haitian comedian after the debates and short films. There were times when the entire audience erupted in laughter and cheer as (ironically), the comedian pretended in a skit, to be a presidential candidate, and found himself in several silly situations.

Overall, we are very happy with how the screenings are going. We are looking forward to implementing a few additional media items to the programming. Tomorrow we will have a live video camera on hand, as we will be inviting residents of the camp to come up in front of the audience and share their stories.  We will also feature a live storybook reading by one of our lead technicians who has been working with the camps for months in reading books to the children. We are excited to update the blog with how tomorrow’s events turn out.  We are thrilled that the technology of Open Air Cinema’s outdoor movie systems can bring educational opportunities and a moment of joy to the residents of the refugee camps whose lives were devastated in the earthquake that struck Haiti over a year ago.

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

outdoor movies haiti

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Open Air Cinema’s Screening of Haitian Presidential Debates in Camp Accra, Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Haiti outdoor movies

Tonight we completed our second day of screening the Haitian presidential debates via outdoor cinema in camp Accra, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The outdoor movie screening was a huge success, with an estimated 2,500 audience members in attendance. The event started off by showing the short film we created in camp Accra itself. The audience was thrilled to see themselves on the big screen, as the film highlighted many of the community members and their daily lives. The crowd erupted in cheers as one resident after another was highlighted in the documentary. We are going to continue to screen the short film at the beginning of each outdoor movie event in the camps over the next week.

For tonights screening, we used the OAC Cinebox system again, and it worked flawlessly, helping us to have a successful screening. Local Haitian animators or MCs led the event with charisma, keeping the audience excited throughout the screenings. We ended the evening off with a screening of a short film by a comedian that is loved my many Haitians. The crowd erupted with laughter and cheer as they watched one of Haiti’s favorite comedies.

We have been training local crews to assist in the production of the outdoor movie screenings, as we have several days next week where we’ll be producing multiple events in one night. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but look forward to continuing to promote democracy and safety in the camps of residents whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake of more than a year ago.

Below are some images of tonight’s outdoor movie screening at camp Accra in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Haiti Outdoor Movies

Haiti Outdoor Movies

Haiti Outdoor Movies

Haiti Outdoor Movies

Haiti Outdoor Movies

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Nairobi, Kenya: Open Air Screenings of Togetherness Supreme in Kibera Slums

Open Air Community Screenings

In cooperation with FilmAid International and with funding from the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi, the Hot Sun Foundation is organizing outdoor community screenings of Togetherness Supreme in Africa’s largest slums. The equipment used for these screenings include a 20′ inflatable movie screen and projector donated to FilmAid International by Open Air Cinema. For more information about these screenings please visit the Hot Sun Foundation’s website, or read the summary below.

The Hot Sun Foundation

Social transformation through media and art is the vision of the Hot Sun Foundation. Their mission is to educate, develop talents, and train youth and children from the slums so that they can tell their own stories. We want their stories to travel far to inspire other slum dwellers around the globe. We want to create role models and leaders. We believe that media and art can enable slum dwellers to reshape their lives and bring about social transformation.

Togetherness Supreme

Togetherness Supreme is the story of Kamau, an artist, Otieno, a hustler, and Alice, a preacher’s daughter, whom both Kamau and Otieno fall in love with. All three live in Kibera, east Africa’s largest slum, home to a million people in Nairobi, Kenya. All three are from different tribes but are searching for tribal unity. During the 2007 Kenya presidential elections their community is torn apart by violence and conflicting tribal loyalties. Their story, set against a backdrop of tyranny, is a beacon of hope in an unjust world.

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London, UK: The Co-operative Bank, FilmAid and Amnesty International Screen Slumdog Millionaire

London, UK: Slumdog Millionaire Benefit ScreeningFilmAid was the beneficiary of a pre-release screening of 4-time Golden Globe winner and ten time Oscar® nominee, Slumdog Millionaire. On hand were director Danny Boyle, co-stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, and producer Christian Colson. The evening was co-sponsored by Amnesty International and Co-operative Bank. Special thanks to one of FilmAid ‘s UK Board Members, Mary Soan.

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New York: Celebrity Event in the Hamptons Benefits Outdoor Movies with FilmAid

Celebrity Event Benefits FilmAid in the Hamptons, New YorkMuch acclaimed Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman hosted an IN-House screening of “The World According To Garp,” written by John Irving who for a time lived in Bridgehampton, presented by THE WEEK, sponsored by Rado and HSBC Premier at SoHo House recently. Hoffman showcased the film, which co-starred Robin Williams, Glenn Close, and John Lithgow as one of the most inspiring films of his career. Glenn Close surprised Hoffman at the screening and shared memories from the making of the movie, which was her first role on the big screen.

Guests including Hamptons residents Annie Churchill, Janna Bullock, Salvatore Strazzullo and Jodie Fanelli, Emma Snowden Jones, Jon and Michelle Marie Heinemann, Greg Bello, as well as Movies 101 Professor Richard Brown, Alice Judelson, Mark Langrish, Mark W. Smith, and directors Amos Poe and James Wright took in the film and the newly renovated White Room at SoHo House over wine and Svedka cocktails.

The IN-House Series was founded by film producer Katrina Pavlos in 2008 to showcase important films introduced by world famous actors, film makers, designers, and artists with an insider’s point of view on new and old films. The impact of the series will be to greatly affect those in need through donations to FilmAid, and to celebrate the power of films to inspire. Jeremy Irons hosted the first event in London, which was followed by an LA event hosted by Kate Beckinsale and Len Wiseman.

The film series benefited FilmAid, a non-profit organization that uses the power of film to change lives. By screening outdoor movies to hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced people each year, FilmAid promotes health, strengthens communities and enriches the lives of the world’s most vulnerable.

Read full article at: http://www.hamptons.com/detail.ihtml?id=5563&apid=11329&sid=6&cid=41&hm=1&iv=0&townflag=

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