Open-air cinema allows Gaza's children to watch animated movies outdoors
Every evening, dozens of children gather to watch their movies and spend fun time with their pairs. Samah al-Helou and her sister Sarah told The New Arab she keeps attending the cinema to watch her favourite animated films.
"It is very interesting for me to watch animation on a big screen," the eleven-year-old told TNA. "I am so happy to experience such an event in Gaza as we do not have any cinema in Gaza."
Mohammed Abu Amra, a 13-year-old boy, expressed absolute joy as he joined a gathering of children to watch an animated movie.
"It was my first time to be a part of such a gathering to watch a movie (...) I was so happy as we spent fun times together," the young boy remarked to TNA.
"It gives us a wonderful experience to go out of our homes to watch movies instead of seeing them on televisions or our mobile phones," he added.
Local activist volunteers established the cinema to allow locals of various ages to spend fun time on the beach, the only outlet for the besieged residents, and enjoy their films, according to Ali Mohanna, one of the initiators.
"We established our cinema with minimum capabilities three weeks ago on the Gaza beach as a part of an eco-friendly cafe of the Sea Is Ours, which was built by a group of Palestinian youths from recycled solid waste in 2021," Mohanna told TNA.
The open-air cinema falls under the responsibility of the Abdul Muhsin al-Qattan Foundation and the Gaza Municipality, he explained.
"Locals are looking forward to having cinemas as an essential part of cultural life, and they hope to watch more movies in regular cinema halls that would bring more cultural activities back to the people who have suffered a lot because of the dire political and economic situations," he remarked.
Mohanna expressed his hope to establish a real open-air cinema available in all upcoming summer seasons and not limited to only the current season.
The first cinema in Gaza was built in 1944 and closed by the late 1960s. Ten other cinemas were constructed in Gaza, but they were all shut down during the first Palestinian intifada in 1987 and have remained closed due to government and political restrictions.