Showmen riding cinema lorries have brought the wonder of the movies to faraway villages in India once every year. Seven decades on, as their cinema projectors crumble and film reels become scarce, their patrons are lured by slick digital technology. Filmed over five years, the filmmakers accompany benevolent showmen. A shrewd exhibitor and a maverick projector mechanic shoulder a beautiful burden fueled by sheer passion - to keep the last traveling cinemas of the world running.
What’s fascinating about the film is the behind-the-scenes logistics and near misses when putting up a grand show, much like mounting a film festival! The film starts with eager crowds bustling around the colorful carnival tent at whose entrance an announcer promises "movies to touch your soul." Inside that tent, resourceful exhibitors scramble to set things up, using mud packs to steady their rickety and rusting equipment. But, once the movie begins, all that backstage chaos melts away to the magic on the screen.
Lyrically edited and gorgeously shot, THE CINEMA TRAVELLERS captures the eroding culture of traveling “tent-cinemas” in India, creating a moving portrait of a changing medium that although is a disappearing trade, still brings joy to so many… Much like a film festival.
This film is nominated for the Halekulani Golden Orchid Award for Best Documentary.