Innovation That Matters

Inflatable movie screens for remote areas of Africa

Publishing & Media

Pop-up cinema is something we’ve been seeing for a few years already, but typically only in areas with the infrastructure to support the large screens it relies on. A new effort from equipment provider Open Air Cinema, however, uses inflatable movie screens to bring outdoor film to remote areas in Africa. Last month, Open Air Cinema launched a subsidized program to provide NGOs and small business owners in Africa with its CineBox Global, a portable, durable solution that comes with everything needed to distribute information, education and entertainment on an inflatable, outdoor movie screen. Screen sizes range from three to 12 meters; blower fans, generators, digital projectors, DVD players, sound mixers, cables and carrying cases are also included. The equipment can all fit in a vehicle the size of a Land Rover, and all components are 110/240 compatible. Open Air’s kits have already been used by the United Nations and FilmAid in refugee camps in Kenya and Tanzania, for example, as well as to show the Oscar-nominated documentary War/Dance to thousands of people living in an isolated refugee camp in northern Uganda. The screens are also used for “Hillywood,” the traveling Rwandan film festival that features filmmakers from Rwanda and other African states, with attendance as high as 10,000 people per showing. Stuart Farmer, president of Utah-based Open Air Cinema, explains: “With the infrastructure challenges that are common throughout Africa, we are offering NGOs an effective and enticing new medium to deliver critical information and needed entertainment. Our inflatable movie screens and systems can be made available anywhere, even in the bush, so NGOs can now deliver consistent messages—through training films about AIDS awareness or women’s rights or an entertaining movie to help elevate the morale of those in the audience.” Open Air’s subsidized program includes detailed training, technical support and reduced pricing, which also varies based on choice of components. More information and applications for the program are at The company’s screens, meanwhile, are available for branding with a logo or organization name. One to sponsor, partner with, or otherwise get involved in….? (Related: Internet-in-a-box for areas without electricitySolar-powered cellphone kiosks for Ugandan womenSee-saw power.) Spotted by: Bonnie Larner



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