Open Air Cinema Pro 20' system to be used for humanitarian outdoor projection initiative in Tanzania

Anna Schuh, Director of Molecular Diagnostics at the University of Oxford, started a fundraising campaign that enabled a recent purchase of Open Air Cinema Pro 20' system, to be shipped to James Gayo, a cartoonist and event producer, in Tanzania.

Open Air Cinema Humanitarian Screening in Africa (Past Years)

We were excited to service this overseas order and so we asked Anna and James to share with our readers a bit more about this initiative.

Open Air Cinema's questions for Anna Schuh

You are a Director of Molecular Diagnostics at the Oxford University. How did you find out about James Gayo and his Cinema to the Villages project?
Yes, I am a Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford and also a visiting Professor at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam where I train doctors in blood disease diagnosis and management (anemias; blood cancers). I mentor several UK funded research programmes there.

"As I get older, working with students and teach them to practice critical and creative thinking and to become leaders in their field is the main goal for me in my professional life. The cinema project is trying to do the same, but in a more general context."
I like this very much. Africa needs good leaders who are not afraid to think critically and creatively.

Why did you decide to raise funds for the outdoor movie screenings in Tanzanian villages and what problems are you trying to address with this project?
Tanzania is a country of incredible resources and has managed to protect almost 50% of its land mass in national parks. It has an incredible history and culture and people are warm and welcoming. However, there are also many issues in Tanzania like in any countries. I believe that these can be overcome by education, free and constructive exchange of views and creative ideas. This is where cinema comes in. It is an educational, inspirational and creative media. Tanzanians have shown amazing talent in making movies. This is what I would like to galvanise.

What did you do to raise awareness about the Cinema to the Villages project and raise funds and what was the motivation of the people who decided to support this initiative?
So far, I have just been talking about the work that James is doing with my immediate entourage. Many people are aware of the negative impact of our behaviour in the Global North (US, Europe and China) on local communities in the Global South. Climate change is intimately linked to exploitation and neo-colonialism and our materialistic life-style habits in the Global North. You don’t have to be a communist to understand this.

Do you plan to come to Tanzania and attend to some of the screenings personally?
Yes, In fact, I will bring my three sons to actively help and get involved. I believe that encounters between young generations from different cultures is the first step to understand each other and build a common future.

What are your future plans for this project with James?
Ideally, I would like to identify the 10 most urgent topics and arrange Paukwa cinema sessions for each of them in smaller and bigger cities in Tanzania to really make a difference.

Open Air Cinema's questions for James Gayo

Please tell us more about your projects as a producer and cartoonist. Do you plan to show your films as part of the Cinema to Villages project?

Yes, apart from cartoons, we have been making some short films that were only distributed online. So the idea is to screen them in remote villages as well.

James Gayo

How did you come up with the idea of bringing outdoor movie screenings to villages in Tanzania?
"I have always liked the idea of using movies to communicate important messages. I first realized the power of cinema when I was very young in the village, a small VW van came to screen a film on Malaria."
That event left a lasting effect on me.

Where did you first find out about the outdoor movie equipment?

I learned about your outdoor movie equipment through your intern, Pius, who also had a small system from your company. He told me of some screenings he did in some refugee camps in Kigoma.

How did you meet Anna and what is her role in the project?

Anna has been working on a project in Tanzania. we met through a friend. We both love movies among other many things

Where in Tanzania do you plan to offer outdoor movie screenings and do you already have a schedule?

The idea is to take entertainment and education everywhere. It will also depend on specific projects and partners we manage to rally. We once partnered with AMREF to make and screen a short on teen pregnancy issues in the southern part of the country.

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