Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello bring Hollywood to Haiti

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters Life!) – After the devastating  earthquake rocked Haiti earlier this year, food and medical aid  poured into the island country, but in the months that followed  a pair of Hollywood actresses and their friends had another  idea. They wanted to build a movie theatre.

It may seem like a far-fetched notion, but since it opened  in September, the Sun City Picture House has become a place  that generates smiles on the faces of children and adults. It  also has been used as a community center and school, and it  helped spawned two similar buildings in different camps.

Maria Bello, who starred Adam Sandler comedy “Grown Ups,”  and “Tron” actress Olivia Wilde, have documented the efforts of  the group of people that brought the theater to life in a new,  short documentary they expect to screen at festivals throughout  the upcoming year.

“The thing that’s needed most in Haiti right now, besides  the immediate relief efforts, is joy. And that’s what this  movie is about,” Bello told Reuters.

The movie, “Sun City Picture House,” focuses on Haitian aid  worker Raphael Louigene — whose dream was to build a movie  theatre — and the two American aid workers who helped him  realize that dream by constructing it in just four days: Bryn  Mooser from Artists for Peace and Justice, and Dave Darg, who  works for Operation Blessing.

Darg directed the documentary. Mooser produced, and they  hired a student from Haiti’s only film school, Cine Institute,  to shoot it.
Bello, 43, and Wilde, 26, both advisory board members of  Artists for Peace and Justice, had volunteered in Haiti before  January’s earthquake, and even then, theatres were in short  supply. Wilde remembers one night standing with “40 or so  Haitians as we projected ‘Home Alone’ onto a sheet slung over a  wall, creating an impromptu late-night outdoor theater smack in  the middle of the slums known as Cite Soleil, or Sun City.”

Watching their faces in the light from a projector was an  important moment for Wilde. “That’s when I understood the need  for an Artist for Peace and Justice Film Project,” she said.

The Sun City theatre project came to fruition when, during  their earthquake relief work, Louigene shared his dream of  building a theater, and Darg and Mooser said they would help.

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