haiti_screening_crowdInsect bites and rain don’t stop Haitian children from flocking to the makeshift outdoor cinemas. The screens go up at sundown and play a special role in Earthquake relief, providing a crucial distraction from the trauma around them.

It costs the Haiti Kids Kino Project around $750 per screening to treat more than 2,000 viewers a week to free, diverse children-friendly programming.

From Loony tunes to Buster Keaton, the schedule features blockbusters like Up and WALL-E, but also impressive selections of short cinema gems like Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon and Masters of Russian Animation’s Hedgehog in the Fog, giving the Haitian kids the same and more necessary privileges as the gurgling Village brats dragged to Anthology Film Archives by smug parents.

Patrick McCormick, emergencies communication officer for the UN, says:

The worst thing for children in natural disasters isn’t just the damage that they see around them, but also when they sit around with nothing to do. It ramps up anxiety and despair, and that’s what does even more damage.

HKKP volunteers Marko Wilkinson and David Fitzsimmons hope to eventually “help youngsters in Haiti make their own films, which will then be sent back to Bristol, forging a cinematic link between Britain and the earthquake-hit Caribbean country.”

Check out the HKKP blog here.