Archive | Rwanda Cinema Center

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.


Open Air Cinema Profile: Eric Kabera of the Rwanda Cinema Center

Eric Kabera of the Rwanda Cinema Center

Eric Kabera of the Rwanda Cinema Center

ERIC KABERA is the Chairperson of the Rwandan Film Festival, renowned producer of ‘100 Days’, forefather of the Rwanda Cinema Center and many young film makers in Rwanda attribute their success to him. The reason being: ‘His work has yielded fruits’.

Since the inception of Rwanda Cinema Center in 2001, Kabera has trained people on how to produce films for a period of three years. His hard work later materialized with the introduction of the Rwanda Film Festival which was officially launched in 2005.

Kabera said: “I had watched several movies produced in Rwanda by foreigners and the idea of the local people producing their own movies clicked in my mind thus leading to the formation of the Rwanda Film Center.”

“Like any humble beginnings, the organisation (Rwanda Cinema Center) was started within my house but later with the help of different parties like; Ministry of Sports and Culture, SIDA, NPA and several others, it become productive.”

“It was the passion and desire to give something to the countrymen that drove me into starting the center.”

During this year’s 6th Edition of the Rwanda Film Festival, amazing short movies and comedies produced by locally upcoming movie directors and producers portray the fabulous work conducted at the Rwanda Cinema Center.

‘Africa Celebrated’ is this year’s theme according to Kabera, ‘one can celebrate even their challenges’.

He has produced over ten independent movies and his favorite is ‘Ingali lwa Alphose’ (Alphose’s bicycle). ‘Africa United’ is Kabera’s upcoming adventure movie yet to be released in September this year.

Born on July 5th, 1970 in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo to Mr. Pheneas Kabera and Mrs. Immaculate Niyonambaje, Eric Kabera is one of the last siblings in the Kabera family.

He attended primary school at Primarie Karisimbi, Keshero Secondary School, Goma Institute of Education where he attained a Diploma in Education and Child Psychology.

After dropping out of a Law School (Institute of Faculty of Law in Goma) he came to Rwanda in 1994 and worked as a Freelance Journalist for several Media Houses such as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Writers Agency.

“I extensively worked with several foreign Media Houses after the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi, the Writers Agency  in 1997 offered a special course in London regarding Media broadcast, writing International News which I participated in and attained a certificate,” Kabera explained.

“ I embarked on making documentary films and in 1998 I teamed up with Nik Huges of Vivid Features and made the first Genocide film ‘100 Days’ which I produced,” he said.

In 2000 Kabera went to Hollywood for a special training in Post Production, Directing and Editing with top Hollywood Producers and Directors.

“Although the course was expensive since it cost $250 per class and they were ten of them, I came back with the idea of strengthening the film industry in Rwanda hence the beginning of the long journey,” the enthusiastic Kabera explained.

Besides being a movie maker, Eric Kabera is a family man—he is married to Alice Migonne Kabera and they are blessed with three lovely children; a boy and two girls, Emika, Erica and Celeb respectively.

With the spirit of Eric Kabera, many are tutored and daily Rwanda’s Film Industry is heading towards a brighter future.



Italian Magazine Features Open Air Cinema's Outdoor Movies in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

Outdoor Movies in Kenya, Tanzania, and UgandaIn a recent issue of the Italian magazine, D la Repubblica delle Donne, Open Air Cinema’s inflatable movie screens were featured in a special African spread. Open Air Cinema’s past work bringing outdoor movies to refugee camps in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda caught the magazine’s eye. As mentioned in the article, Open Air Cinema’s inflatable screens will be used in Rwanda’s Outdoor Film Festival, “Hillywood”. In rural regions of Africa, where a whole village shares one old TV, movies and Public Service media are rare. Open Air Cinema traveled to Africa to bring film entertainment and also educational media to these rural areas. You can read the blog post about Open Air Cinema’s outdoor movies in Africa here. The following is the article from the Italian magazine, D la Repubblica delle Donne.

Outdoor Movies in an Italian MagazineDopo i pop up store, i pop up cinema. La compagnia americana Open Air Cinema fornisce tutto l’occorrente nella formula dei “CineBox”: uno schermo gonfiabile da dodici metri, generatori, proiettori digitali, lettori dvd, altoparlanti e custodie per il trasporto. “E dal momento che possono essere installati ovunque, perché non cominciare dalle zone più remote dell’Africa, con l’aiuto delle Ong, per unire l’intrattenimento all’informazione su temi come l’Aids o i diritti delle donne”, ha pensato il presidente Stuart Farmer. “Già usati nei campi profughi di Kenya, Tanzania e Uganda, gli schermi gonfiabili saranno installati a giugno a “Hillywood”, il festival di cinema itinerante del Ruanda (

Photo of Outdoor Movies in Africa from Insert

Photo of Outdoor Movies in Africa from Insert

After the pop up store, the movies pop up. The American company Open Air Cinema provides everything you need in the form of the  “CineBox”: an inflatable screen twelve meters in dimension, generators, digital projectors, DVD players, speakers and boxes for transport. “And since they can be installed anywhere, we can take them to the most remote areas of Africa, with the help of NGOs; joining entertainment with information on topics such as AIDS or the rights of women,” he thought President Stuart Farmer. “Already in use in the refugee camps of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, inflatable screens will be installed in June at “Hillywood”, the film festival touring Rwanda (

Source: “Life e Tendenze” by Stefania Medetti -D la Repubblica della Donne. Read full (Italian) article at:


CEO of the Rwanda Cinema Center Tours the US- Update

Outdoor Movies in RwandaPlease see previous post for more info: Eric Kabera, CEO of the Rwanda Cinema Center, is currently touring the US to meet with important partners and friends of RCC. These entries were taken from the RCC blog, which can be found at

I am glad to let you know that on Monday, 22nd, the events that were scheduled went very well!

We met the 4 scholastic kids from Rwanda, the Minister of Culture Joseph Habineza, Jennifer, Dante and Nadine the kid’s chaperon at the Marriott Markis on Broadway for breakfast. This was the start of the day!

As we talked, I introduced myself to Dante who had not yet gotten the video we made of the kids in Rwanda! To our relief, the video only came in by mid morning. It will be edited and presented at the Gorillas summit on Friday.

Off we went for our first meeting at the Essex hotel. We were introduced to Craig Hacktoff, Jennifer and Tom the father of the famous baby tigers! (For those who do not know this extraordinary story, check the web: baby tigers adopted by two dogs!) We all know cats and dogs do not mix, but this is an incredible story that can give the rest of mankind a lesson: We can mix and tender for one another as long as we give that bit of love and care we all have! Or so goes Tom’s story…

About ten of us crowded the room where Tom freed the 3 baby tigers from their cage! We were allowed to touch them, give them milk and experience the bond the tigers had with the dogs. What a treat! Photos were taken and the kids from Rwanda had a blast! This was an incredible encounter!

After the interaction with the tigers, our group went for lunch and had to prepare for our next meeting and encounter! Guess what, the Scholastic Kids of Rwanda met their counterparts from the USA to sign a declaration protecting mountain gorillas in the presence of the 42nd President of the most powerful nation on earth! Former President Bill Clinton!

Sweating, as we were about 9 people crammed in a small room,we waited to be ushered into the room where we would shake the hands with Clinton. But shaking hands was not part of my agenda. The Rwanda Cinema Centre and I had been among the team that facilitated the program of the Scholastic Kids,so not only did I have the responsibility of following the kids and be part of the delegation but to also record their special moments (with Jennifer Brunetti’s camera). In the end I think my presence with all these cameras was too noticeable so our friends from the Clinton Global Initiative kindly suggested that we do not video record the event but only have pictures of the former president taken. So like many photographers on TV and movies, I decided not to line up and shake hands with Clinton but rather walked behind him flashing away!

Minister Joe had a chat with Former President Clinton, and it was fun to see the kids from Rwanda have an interaction with him too and even ask questions! As some of you may recall, I have filmed Bill Clinton before for one of my haunting documentary films on the survivors’ account of the 1994 Genocide. The footage of Clinton is featured in a sequence of an under toned Mea Culpa! A very strong sequence.

Clinton is such an amazing orateur! He spoke with the kids on conservation and even on the current McCain and Obama campaign! It was interesting, one of the Scholastic kids from American came forward and to ask questions but forgot the content, a bit intimidated he had to go back. Clinton was kind enough walk up to the kid and request that he ask the question again. “How bad or good is this campaign compared to the others?” the boy finally asked. This ended up being one of the best questions from the kids.

More photos were taken to the point we had to use a second camera. (Peter from the BBC had given me his camera to take pictures of him with Bill Clinton!) It was fun and I was glad that I did not only get to meet Clinton again, but that I took so many pictures that some of his security guys whispered to me that it is enough! “Your flash is too strong,” they had told me.

Finally, the Scholastic Kids and I went to another event. Back to back, from one President to another. This time it was the President of the Republic of Rwanda in an event organized by the Macy’s Stores. Macy’s sells the famous Peace Baskets of Rwanda. These are known to be the best baskets, better than what Japan, China and other places that are putting out on the market. Cecile Kayirebwa (famous Rwandan singer) performed at the event, speeches were made by the CEO of Macy’s followed by President Kagame… it was a great event!

Again, I was flashing away. Upon reaching my President and shaking his hand, he recognizing me and quietly asked how I was, to which I replied, “I am fine your Excellency.”

Having an interaction with 3 baby tigers in a New York Hotel with dogs taking care of them, meeting two Presidents in a day, watching an Opera in an open space on Broadway, what else can excite kids of 11 and 12 years old? In a nutshell, this was too much for them! They were soon worn out! However it was all worth it as they were given five MacBook laptops by Craig Hacktoff the co-founder of Tribeca Film Festival. Nadine, their chaperon got one too! A very welcomed ‘goodnight kiss’ for the kid’s last evening.


CEO of the Rwanda Cinema Center, Eric Kabera, Touring the US

Outdoor Movies in RwandaThis entry was taken from the official blog of the Rwanda Cinema Center and its CEO, Eric Kabera. For more information check out

CEO and founder of the Rwanda Cinema Center, Eric Kabera, will be touring the US from September to November this year.

Eric’s main aim on this tour will be to meet with potential partners and supporters of RCC and reinforce their relationship with the TRIBECA Film Institute.

RCC along with the TRIBECA Film Institute are working to create an exchange program which will enable Film students from Rwanda to visit the US and get a first hand experience the US film industry. Film students from the US will get the same opportunity in Rwanda.

Eric will be visiting universities that have shown an interest in RCC and Rwandan films namely; the University of Southern California (USC) and some universities in Michigan. He will be meeting up with groups from Hollywood to further develop our relationship and will be talking especially to comedy writer Edward Greenberg.

This tour will also serve to present our achievements and prospects to the interested parties. Our progress on the independent movies theatre will especially be presented to Philip and Monica Rosenthal, who helped materialize it from a simple idea.In addition, Eric will be meeting with the manufacturers of inflatable screens in Utah to discuss and further explore the use of this technology.

Upon the success of Eric’s tour to the US, RCC hopes to officially launch film classes at the first film institute in Rwanda (Rwanda Film Institute) by next year. We hope to have updated a yearly calendar and to have recruited mentors to kick-start this phenomenon.

Finally we hope to have introduced, to potential producers, our first comedy feature called CBB (formerly under the title ‘Dodou Goes to the World Cup‘).

If any of this has inspired or even made you a tiny bit curious, please get in touch by leaving a comment on Eric’s blog ( or by contacting Eric himself at [email protected]

If you are a producer and are interested in film from Rwanda, Eric would be over the hills if you were to contact him or better yet meet up with him on tour.

Here are some dates and locations for those interested:
New York (20th – 28th September, 22nd and 27th October,7th – 8th November)
Michigan (28th September – 3rd October)
Los Angeles (4th – 11th and 14th – 22nd October)
Utah (11th – 14th October)
Boston (22nd – 26th October)
Atlanta (27th – 31st October)
Washington (1st – 6th October)

The Rwanda Cinema Center

The Rwanda Cinema Center was created to facilitate film and video production; to deliver informative, entertaining, and educational content; and to explore a wide spectrum of issues and raise awareness on local and global development agendas, community outreaches, and socio-cultural, political and economic development. Film is one of the most popular forms of entertainment, but it also represents an industry that is growing- thus creating trades, foreign investments and job opportunities. Rwanda is now a country on the move and their cultural diversity and creative energy is finding the space to flourish.

In addition, Rwanda Cinema Center is putting up Rwanda’s first independent movie theater. This will be the scene of workforce training and include a sound stage that can be used by public and private entities. The main hall will be built to the same standards used for Los Angeles and Hollywood facilities. There, filming of major motion pictures, television documentaries, commercials and independent films will take place. It is hoped the complex will meet every aspect of a production company’s needs. This investment will mean more jobs and opportunities for the Rwandan people, and will facilitate the growth of Rwandan cinema.


Provo, Utah: Outdoor Movies at the Bridal Veil Film Festival

Outdoor Movies at the Bridal Veil Film Festival; Provo, UtahIf you’ve driven north on I-15 recently, you’ve probably noticed Open Air Cinema, a fairly new business located to the west in Lindon, and thought to yourself, “How is that a surviving business in Utah?” While Open Air Cinema is based in Utah, it’s a worldwide company that we’re privileged to have here.

Open Air Cinema supports outdoor movies by providing high quality outdoor film-viewing equipment that’s a thousand steps above hanging a sheet on your garage door and using your dad’s digital projector from work. They’ve been used all around the world, from the L.A. and Tribeca Film Festivals to Sundance’s summer movies under the stars. Currently, they’re putting on a local charity benefit for the Rwanda Cinema Centre (RCC) by hosting the Bridal Veil Film Festival.

“Bridal Veil Falls is a beautiful, unused and forgotten-about monument,” says Open Air Cinema owner Stuart Farmer. “During winter it’s too dangerous … but we can put good use to it in summertime. … We spoke to the owners of the property and they were more than willing to let us put this charity event on there.”

Open Air Cinema has taken a unique angle for their festival. The titles being shown are the best of the best when it comes to foreign films and documentaries. So far, they’ve shown films like Life is Beautiful, Amelie and Warner Herzog’s harrowing documentary Grizzly Man. The festival will close next week with the best title of them all, Brazil’s City of God. (See the full list of screenings below.)

Though admittance to the festival costs $8, it is well worth it knowing that all proceeds will go straight to the charity. As if that weren’t good enough, you’ll see great films with high quality projection and sound in a stunningly gorgeous location. And after Saturday night’s screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey, there will be a special space-themed dance.

What: Bridal Veil Film Festival

Where: Bridal Veil Falls Cost: $8 per person

Info: “” and “”

When: 8:00 p.m. each night

Screenings: Sept. 25 – Wings of Desire (Germany) Sept. 26 – Wardance (Uganda) Sept. 27 – 2001: Space Odyssey Sept. 28 – City of God (Brazil)


Bridal Veil Film Festival Comes to a Close

Bridal Veil Film Festival Outdoor Inflatable Movie Screen

Bridal Veil Film Festival Inflatable Movie Screen

This past weekend marked the end of the Bridal Veil Film Festival, as we closed with the films “Wings of Desire”, “Wardance”, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and “City of God”. “Wardance” was something of a theme-movie for us, as all the proceeds from the festival were donated to the Rwanda Cinema Center. “2001” brought in a good crowd as one of the more well-known films shown in the past 3 weeks, and hundreds of people came out for the dance after the film.

I must say I’m sad to see the festival go. In an era of Netflix, YouTube, and home theaters, I think we have lost something in the community-cinema experience. Sure, DVDs provide convenience: no lines to wait in, no sold out shows, no annoying kids kicking the back of your chair. But there was a time when local cinemas were the only exposure to film available, and all films were watched in the company of neighbors, friends, and strangers. You’d laugh together, cry together, and discussions would naturally rise regarding the various issues posed in each film. I know that the group experience probably isn’t enough to draw people out of the comfort of their homes and DVD players, but I am glad that events like the Bridal Veil Film Festival give us the opportunity to once again experience movies as a community.

And the festival was much more than a movie: we got the opportunity to see movies we probably wouldn’t see otherwise, from cultures very different from our own. I can’t imagine a better venue in which to watch a movie than at the foot of a waterfall, under the stars. Outdoor films are sometimes far and few between, but it’s always fun when one comes along. The Bridal Veil Film Festival is an experience of cinema and nature, a melding of art that we as humans have created and art we could never replicate. It is an opportunity to come together as a community and experience culture in a new way. These international films give us a glimpse into a different world, and in the process we too reach out to these far-away lands and give something back.


Outdoor movies at Bridal Veil Falls

The night began in a flurry as tents, lanterns, chairs, and a gigantic inflatable movie screen sprang up at the base of Bridal Veil Falls in the heart of Provo Canyon. As I rushed to set up ticket booths and concessions stands, I barely noticed as a stream of eager movie-goers gathered along the roadside. Various people ranging from college students to senior citizens trickled- then poured- into the venue, armed with blankets and hot cocoa. Time flew by and my own shivering alerted me to the setting sun and cooling air. Moments later the film began- “Life is Beautiful”, one of my favorites- and I finally sat to rest. It was only then that I paused to survey the scene laid before me. A sea of neighbors and friends, closely knit to keep warm in the cool, almost-autumn air, sat transfixed before the screen. The cascading waterfall was still visible in the last rays of sunset, just meters away from our little make-shift theater. The canyon walls rose like skyscrapers around us, crowned with an indigo sky, the first sparking stars peeking through. And in the middle of it all came the melodic strains of Italian dialogue: “Buon giorno, Principessa!”

The first weekend of the Bridal Veil Film Festival has passed with astounding success. With over 150 attendees the first night alone, the festival is sure to grow throughout the next two weeks as it gains more notoriety. Saturday’s film, “Amelie”, was followed by an 80’s dance and was especially popular with the college crowd. This weekend’s shows will include “Children of Heaven” on Thursday, “Cinema Paradiso” on Friday, the old favorite “Chariots of Fire” on Saturday, and “Grizzly Man” on Sunday. Each day the movie will begin at the usual time of 8:00pm. A dance will again be held after Chariots on Saturday, this time with a “Jock Rock” theme.

Festival Schedule

Starting at 8pm every night:

Sept 12- Life is Beautiful (Italy)

Sept 12- Amelie (France)

Sept 14- Dreams (Japan)

Sept 18- Children of Heaven (Iran)

Sept 19- Cinema Paradiso (Italy)

Sept 20- Chariots of Fire (England) *Jock Rock dance following film*

Sept 21- Grizzly Man (USA)

Sept 25- Wings of Desire (Germany)

Sept 26- Wardance (Uganda)

Sept 27- 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space) *Space dance following film*

Sept 28- City of God (Brazil)