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Filmmaker takes film literally on road

Reina to exhibit films on inflatable screens

Self-distributing a pic takes a lot of legwork, but a Colombian filmmaker is going a step further by taking his pic on the road with a pair of roving screens on wheels.

With only around 500 screens, many Colombians don’t have access to cinemas. So helmer Luis Hernan Reina has reeled in the support of local web RCN, Mexican circuit Cinepolis and other private investors to exhibit his directorial debut “Alborada carmesi” (Crimson Dawn) for free in some 50 pueblos since early March.

Abysmal business conditions also play a factor in the launch of the program, known as Cinegira.

“To get your film released, you have to go to distributors and exhibitors with hat in hand, often paying for the P&A yourself while the exhibitor pockets as much as 64% of the box office receipts,” says Reina.

Equipped with state-of-the-art inflatable screens, one Cinegira truck plies the Northern hinterlands while the other covers the Southern region, with plans to visit 320 municipalities by September or October.

“We are targeting a million admissions by the end of the run,” says Reina whose drama stars telenovela actresses Ruddy Rodriguez, Zharick Leon and Martha Restrepo as friends who reunite at a farm.

Celebrity mounted bullfighter (a rejoneador) Juan Rafael Restrepo makes a cameo, adding to the pic’s wide appeal. The soundtrack features Grammy award-winning folksinger Cholo Valderrama.

Roving cinema screens aren’t new to Latin America — Reina got the idea from watching a documentary clip from Cuba in the ’60s when a Cinemobile regaled auds across the island. Peru has been running a similar project called Nomadas since June 2007.

Circuits are now latching onto the idea, with Mexico’s Cinepolis showing interest as well as Cinemark in Ecuador.

Venezuelan filmmaker Haik Gazarian is also looking into deploying mobile screens in vastly underscreened Venezuela to showcase his directorial feature debut “Venezzia,” starring Rodriguez.

Meanwhile, other Colombian filmmakers are hoping to join the Cinegira bandwagon.

“We’re still on a learning curve but this could become a viable alternative circuit for independent cinema,” says Reina.

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