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County Durham-made pedal-powered cinema to show Wallace and Gromit in Laos
A COUNTY Durham film maker is taking her pedal-powered cinema to the most heavily bombed country in the world to show residents Wallace and Gromit.
Helen Ward has travelled to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to put on festive film screenings featuring the much-loved inventor and his faithful four-legged companion.
The visit has been organised by the British Embassy in Laos and is being supported by Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations.
Ms Ward first visited the country two years ago as part of a film-making project with her companies Jack Drum Arts and Kids for Kids UK, both based in Crook, County Durham.
Since then she has kept in close contact with arts groups in Laos and has taken her pedal-powered cinema, which was developed earlier this year.
The power for the cinema projector is produced by somebody pedaling a bicycle, which means it can be set up and used anywhere in the world.
The cinema will start off in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, before being taken to rural parts of the country as part of a mobile film festival.
The cinema was devised by Jack Drum Arts and built by Fountain Design. Ms Ward said: “Laos is a very poor country with enormous problems but the people are really welcoming and desperately want to make connections with the wider world.
“The medium of film can provide a bridge between cultures so I am delighted that we can provide not only the means for communities to watch films but also some of the best-loved films the UK has produced.”
Helene Ouvrard, organiser of the Vientiane International Film Festival, said: “Our community-based film festival has just started a mobile cinema tour in the rural provinces and we will use the pedal-powered cinema to screen films in more remote areas of the country.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to use this kit as it is a very unique and fun way for people to discover the world of film."
British Ambassador in Laos, Philip Malone, said: “This project is an excellent example of how UK-based excellence can travel across the globe.
“This mobile screening unit is a great way to showcase the strength of British innovation.”
More than two million bombs were dropped on Laos as part of America’s fight against communism in the 1960s and 70s, and it has officially been recognised as the most bombed country per capita.
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