Cinemovel Foundation

Our history

A modern group of acrobats that bring cinema to place where cinema has disappeared or has never existed

The idea of cinemovel started in December 1997, after an evening at the cinema of Majanga, on the western coast of Madagascar, thanks to the passion for cinema and for Africa of its founders, Elisabetta Antognoni and Nello Ferrieri. After a long journey and several odd indoor cinemas (in a country where outdoor screenings could work during most of the year), the founders grasped the interest of the public for cinema and noticed how each screening seemed to have a different meaning every time, in areas that are so poor and isolated. The idea of organising a travelling cinema with a big screen started outside the old and decadent colonial cinema, which screened mainly bad quality films (like most African cinemas).

The caravan of modern travellers crosses the roads of Africa and stops by in villages and remote areas to set up an open air cinema and to screen classic films, African films and films for children. The circus of cinema is a place for exchange, thanks to the socialising nature of cinema, its universal value and the strong ability of moving images to communicate to the audience. Cinemovel especially cares for children, the youngest public that sees films in a special way.

Following the inspiration of this first trip to Africa and of many others afterwards, the Cinemovel pilot project started in Mozambique in 2001. From August to October, Cinemovel crossed Mozambique and screened Mozambican, European and American films for all ages. Cinemovel inspired in a unique way those that had forgotten cinema and those that maybe had never seen a film on a big screen, in the most remote areas of the country, thanks to the socialising and evocative power of cinema. Cinemovel also carried out an AIDS awareness campaign every evening in front of thousand of people, and every day in schools, markets and hospitals.

The Mozambique pilot project achieved better results than those expected; it also gained the approval and enthusiasm of people and institutions, as well as great international visibility and success. This created new contacts and led to exchange of ideas, creation of proposals and projects that today have all come together within Cinemovel Foundation.

After transforming the first pilot project into a series of travelling cinema projects in a growing number of countries, the “Associazione Cinemovel” then became a Foundation. Thanks to the support of Goodwill and its director Pier Luigi Sacco (senior lecturer in economy and culture), the foundation has undertaken a strategy of sustainability for its activity. Fundraising is the tool for sharing the foundation’s good cause with a wide number of individuals and organisations, also at international level; it also represents the desire for dialogue, exchange and transparency with its multiple audiences, with the aim of promoting cinema beyond frontiers.

Watch the interview by Paola Di Fraia to Elisabetta Antognoni and Nello Ferrieri for “Facce di Legalità”