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Estonia’s CineExpress tours the Balkans

Martin Aadamsoo 2009-05-26
Estonia's rolling cinema exhibitor Cinema Bus is wrapping up its tour of the Balkan countries, trying to revitalise the failed cinema networks and bring moving pictures back to remote areas of Europe.

Funded by NATO, the CineExpress project toured Serbia, Kosovo, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Albania for two weeks in May and ends up in the European Capital of Culture 2009 city of Linz, Austria with a show at LinzFest.

CinemaBus (www.kinobuss.ee) is an original rolling cinema outfit that has throughout years extensively toured Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Germany and the US with a trumpeted goal of brining cinema back to places where market forces have failed it. The CinemaBus format consists of open air and indoor screenings, coupled with film and animation workshops for kids.

CinemaBus's mission in the Balkans underlines the fact that cinemas were one of the first victims in the economic transformation of former Soviet block countries. The grass roots organisation is keen to promote digital cinema as a relatively low-cost and flexible means to re-establish exhibition circuits in the area. According to Mari Peelbaum, the project manager, the CinemaBus views the tour as a low-key but efficient means of cultural exports that prefers local presence to high horisontal visibility.

From May 14-26, the tour visited the cities of Nish (Serbia), Štrpce (Kosovo), Shkoder (Albania), Cetinje (Montenegro), Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Knin (Croatia) and Maribor (Slovenia).


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