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A cinema that screens free movies opened in Jordan’s Zaatari camp with a celebrator­y event under the patronage of HRH Princess Rym Ali.

Cinema Zaatari is a project initiated and supported by the Lumiere à Zaatari foundation in Paris, in partnershi­p with Unicef and the Imaginariu­m Films, the cinema management company.

The opening ceremony was attended by Brigadier General Bilal Al Omari, the head of the Syrian Refugee Affairs Directorat­e and the camp director, Colonel Ahmed Saud, as well as the Royal Film Commission, Al Balad Theatre, the French Institute and the Jordan management team of Unicef , UNHCR, Acted and a number of Jordanian artists.

HRH Princess Rym expressed her happiness in launching the first cinema for Zaatari residents, stressing the importance of such efforts in improving the living condition of refugee children, and hoping they inspire the community to tell its own stories in the future.

David Bertolotti, French Ambassador to Jordan, praised the hard work of the French and Jordanian teams that resulted in bringing Cinema Zaatari to life, offering its management an unlimited access to the French Institute catalogue of film releases.

“Inaugurati­ng a cinema in a refugee camp is no small feat. It’s our belief that bringing cultural activities to the camp is essential for families’ wellbeing, allowing them to escape their routine,” he said.

Brigadier General Bilal Al Omari invited the residents of Zaatari to make use of this facility as a way to support similar projects in other refugee camps.

Lumiere à Zaatari foundation director Xavier Giannoli said Cinema Zaatari would not have been a reality without the generous donations of hundreds of people from many countries around the world, as well as The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and many major companies in France such as Gaumont, Canon, Institut Lumière and others.

The ceremony concluded with a screening of Finding Nemo for dozens of excited children from the Unicef Makani centre and their families.

Aiming to offer a combinatio­n of entertaini­ng and educationa­l films, Cinema Zaatari is planning to start its first series of public screenings by next month with a summer film programme of eight titles.

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