Sunshine Cinema is a South African solar powered cinema network. We train youth to be impact producers hosting free film screenings on mini solar powered cinema kits (the Sunbox) promoting the local film industry. We use these screenings to spark dialogue, educate, and inspire social change on issues of conservation, migration, land, gender equality and active citizenship working alongside civil society and policymakers. Since launching in October 2018 our Ambassadors have screened over 134 times to over 6000 people in their communities of Alice, Qwa Qwa, Lebowakgomo and Kitwe. A year later the funding has run out an no operational funding has been secured for their programmes. We want to raise R80 000 to keep their boxes running for the next 3 months to ensure they get to screen some of the exciting new titles we have secured.
What happens after 3 months?
In the last 2 years we have successfully run various projects, but still struggle to access operational funding to cover our day to day costs. This is why we want to ensure we have a profit making component to our projects, so as to not solely rely on fundraising. We plan to bring our Sunboxes to market in 2020. Every month we get requests from 3rd party filmmakers, activist organisations, training institutions and renewable energy platforms to purchase Sunbox Kits for their use. So far we have sold Sunboxes to the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust in Malawi and Working Films in North Carolina in America. We believe that we have the capacity to build a social franchise model for the Sunbox innovation to ensure sustainability and not have to rely solely on funding. for the Ambassadors but we are not there yet.
Our Project goal:
Communities who are inclusive in dialogue and action and who drive social change.
Theory of action:
Sunshine Cinema capacitates and resources Sunbox Ambassadors through continued media and facilitation training. The purpose of this training is to equip Sunbox Ambassadors with the necessary knowledge and skills to host and facilitate film screenings of African films. The training of the Sunbox Ambassadors includes event planning and management, safety and security, legal film distribution, audience engagement through dialogue facilitation, and data collection about the films and the resulting impact.
In addition to their capacity building activities, Sunshine Cinema provides the Sunbox Ambassadors with a Sunbox, a mobile solar-powered cinema innovation which is loaded with African films. These films are secured through the promotion of Sunshine Cinema within the local film industry and the support of local filmmakers and impact producers. These filmmakers are passionate about ensuring access to films for diverse communities, many of which do not have access to film due to a lack of local cinemas and the price of cinema tickets.
Theory of Change:
The various actions noted above will ensure that the Sunbox Ambassadors are equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills and resources to host free public screenings of African films and to facilitate community dialogue platforms post screenings in geographically isolated communities. The screenings are of locally relevant films which cover the following themes: gender and sexual diversity, cultural and religious diversity, conservation and the global climate crisis, human rights, and active citizenship. Post the screening, Sunbox Ambassadors spark conversation through facilitating dialogue amongst audience members and key interest groups. In addition, Sunbox Ambassadors network with local service providers, community leaders, and non-profit organisations to develop mutually beneficial relationships so that they are able to share their community network with audience members.
Thus far ambassadors using the Sunbox have demonstrated growing confidence to lead and facilitate change in their communities. They are able to address different stakeholders and maintain relationships with them on behalf of the programme. The ambassadors themselves have demonstrated a positive change in opinion and a shedding of prejudices inherited from their surroundings based on the films they screen. We have been able to reach wider audiences, even out of the communities we work in by partnering with organisations with larger networks. Communities get familiar with the cinema experience, and are provided a space to discuss locally relevant issues in a dynamic way. Schools request ambassadors to aid learners by providing an innovative educational tool and in the process African films reach wider audience - while in turn creating a platform for local voices to be heard. Ambassadors conduct surveys with audience members and those that did not see the film to compare / contrast viewpoints. They are required to run monthly feedback sessions with community members unpacking the themes of the film, and how the screenings can be improved for greater impact, conducting surveys and post screening workshop discussions to facilitate continued dialogue within the community.