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Cinema ! Cinema ! Mobile in Afghanistan

In September 2003, after 3 long months of preparation the first permanent educational mobile cinema left the capital city of Kabul to rally the 8 main regions of Afghanistan. 8 cars together with a 32 people crew finally hit the road. What an emotion !

Loaded with audio & video equipment shipped from France and re-designed for the project, 5m x 3m locally made screens, water & fuel tanks, sleeping bags, torch lights and enough money to tour for 3 months. I was one of them..

What an experience!

Together with Afghan Films and AÏNA we managed to create for a while the capacity to show all around the country Afghan short films – all year long – with mobile cinema units. In this reconstruction period, there is a crucial need to create an efficient media to relay educational messages in remote places where people have little access, if any to media.

All films were fictional, from 15 and 35 minutes, incorporating educational messages. This informal visual education proved to be very efficient as well as supporting the local production and talents by channeling through international community funds. In the past, Afghan Films had staff and equipment to show films in the provinces but during the war this equipment were destroyed and the personnel dispersed.

Under the artistic supervision of Siddiq Barmak, Oscar nominated & Golden Globe award director for ‘Osama’, and Head of Afghan Films, the National Institute for Cinema in Kabul, the mobile cinema structure intended to be permanent.

Thanks to the courage and dedication of Afghan Films staff and AINA volonteers who trained, supervised, mentored over months to migrate a dead industry to a small group of talented digital producers & directors.

Main achievements. From September 2003 to April 2004 almost 500,000 people from all around the country gathered to watch films. No major incidents occured. An additional 400,000 people audience could watch the films thanks to local TVs.

It was a great period of time for great projects such as mobile cinema but quickly security situation became critical and our teams could only organize screenings in the capital cities. Finally all staff and equipment were transferred to Afghan Films.

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