By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act December 16, 2011 at 1:05PM
An initiave I profiled much earlier this year, when it was in its infancy, posts its first commercial!
If the people can't get to the theater, then what do you do? You bring the theater to the people. And if a penny can be made out of any idea, you know someone will find a way to make it so.
As a way to combat piracy, a new mobile cinema project, backed by the European Union ($700,000 in funding), in the form of an organization called mobiCINE, is planting roots in a few African countries, with the goal being to, essentially, bring the theatrical experience to areas in which theatrical exhibition doesn't exist for any number of reasons - mostly economic.
How does the operation work? Well, mobiCINE purchases and equips motorcycles with a laptop computer (each with a full feature film loaded onto it), a 25ft portable screen, loudspeakers and a power generator, and you can figure out the rest, I'm sure. If not, watch the 3 videos below.
Films on the laptops are reportedly encrypted for single use, to prevent piracy.
The project first took hold recently, in Dakar, Senegal and Bamako, Mali; and, thanks to the success being enjoyed there thus far, mobiCINE plans to market-test other regions, both in Africa, as well as countries of the Caribbean.
"There is a big potential market," said Beatrice Boursier, a representative for the project.
Yes, I'm sure there is.
The cost per ticket for those who want to watch is about 150 to 300 CFA; or about 30 to 60 cents! Peanuts! But if one of the goals here is to combat piracy (pirated DVDs are a booming black market business in those major cities this initiative targets), the price of admission has to be competitive and affordable.
Also worth noting, the filmmakers whose films are shown reportedly get a cut of sales, though I don't know exactly how much.
I recall an entry I posted a few weeks ago on the lack of black audience support for cinema in parts of South Africa, given that the areas many blacks live in are removed from the major cities in which most movie theater chains exist. Could the EU-backed mobiCINE prosper there? *Shrug*
This morning, I saw the very first advertisement for mobiCINE, uploaded today onto the organization's YouTube page. It's embedded below. No English translation, but you get the picture. Just look at the shiny, smiling happy faces of both children and adults, praising mobiCINE :)
And in the clip below, reps from mobioCINE talk about their project, and give you a look at how it works:
And in this clip, we see footage of the project's very first screening event. As you can see, they watched Kirikou Et La Sorcière (Kirikou And The Sorceress).