‘Cinema for the Heart’ brings the big screen to children of Colombia

World Today

A big idea bringing the big screen to children in Colombia. Volunteers are working to get more kids to the movies, by bringing the movies to them.

CGTN’s Michelle Begue reports.

A group of Colombian volunteers is getting ready for movie night. But this isn’t just any movie experience. This is ‘Cinema for the Heart.’

“We want to reach children’s hearts through cinema, culture by providing a recreational space so that they can reflect and receive a different education,” Alexandra Paes of Foundation Colombo Alemana said.

According to Colombia’s latest National Cultural census, more than half of all children between the ages of 5 and 11 never go to the movies. Even fewer older children experience the big screen.

Dairo Bustos was one of those kids. He didn’t set foot in a movie theatre until he was 17-years-old, which is why he created Cinema for the Heart, bringing the moviegoing experience – popcorn and all – to vulnerable children in Colombia.

“Many children come from outside of the city, so they don’t have access to theatres in the towns where they live,” the creator of Cine al Corazon said. “Some come to the city looking for things like medical help, not necessarily a movie theater, so we have had kids who bring family members who are 35-years-old and have never been to the cinema.”

Over the past three years, “Cinema for the Heart” has taken its mission on the road, setting up portable theaters at various organizations serving children across Colombia. 

“I think that moment, when we are all looking at the screen, we forget who we are sitting with or who we are,” Bustos said. “All that matters is that we are sharing a space, watching a movie; and that brings a sort of equality.”

Today’s showing is for the children of the Colombo German Foundation, which works with kids who have been abandoned by their families.

Talks after the movie provide a space for reflection on morals and values raised by the movie’s story.

“They teach me, give advice and their lessons reach my heart,” one movie fan said afterwards.

Operating through donations and the help of more than 50 volunteers, Cinema for the Heart has projected more than 600 hours of movies for the children of Bogota.