SWB Newsletter: Episode one

Welcome to the first of our monthly Screens Without Borders newsletters. We will bring news of screenings, regions, supporters and plans for the future.

Screens Without Borders (SWB) was founded in 2017 with a board of five people, lead by Michael and Anne Smith from the Sun Theatre, Ingrid van den Berghe from Luna cinemas WA, health professional and long term Cinema Loro sa'e advisor Jennifer Thompson and acclaimed film maker Robert Connolly (Balibo, The Turning, Paper Planes). SWB was born from the Cinema Loro sa’e travelling cinema program in Timor-Leste, founded by Michael Smith in 2010.

SWB was founded to facilitate the successful screening program in Timor-Leste to expand both in country and into Australia, Papua New Guinea and other Pacific nations.

SWB has been underwritten from the outset by the Sun Theatre in Yarraville and Sun Cinema Bairnsdale, with other Independent Cinemas coming on board to assist.

The State Cinema in Hobart came on board three years ago, with owner John Kelly keen to support the Timor program on an annual basis.

He was joined last year by Shannon and Matt Price, owners of the Cloud 9 Bright, not only sponsoring SWB, but also assisting with the development of the new concept vehicle, Pop Out Cinema.

While all screenings so far have been undertaken with blow up screens transported in a 4wd Troopy, by our team in Timor lead by local manager Angelo Alves, a new screen design has been developed - which we share more news of next month.

Screenings continue in Timor, as we approach the mid point of the dry season in Cinema Loro sa’es 8th year of operation. We have now screened to over 250,000 people in over 200 villages across the 13 districts of Timor-Leste. The Australian Embassy in Dili has signed on again for the third consecutive year as a major supporter and partner of the program.

The final exciting news for this month is that our first National Independent Cinema has come on board as a sponsor - Dendy Icon Australia, incorporating Dendy Cinemas, who operate in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra, and Icon Films, who distribute quality films across the whole country. Manager Nick Hayes was recently interviewed on the Sun Sessions podcast and said “we are so proud to come on board for the Screens Without Borders program, and help make shared story telling on the big screen accessible to people everywhere.” Thanks Nick, Sharon and the rest of the Dendy Icon team!

We’ll be back shortly with more fantastic news that I really had to show some restraint in not just spilling out today!

Please forward this to your friends and colleagues who you know will be interested and kept up to date by subscribing here.

Thanks, Michael.