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La Potocine - a self-managed community cinema in Ciudad Bolívar wins the Opinion Award that is voted for by the attending public.

24 octubre 2018

This award is given to the project that receives the most votes from the people attending the Festival over the course of the day. 

The attending public decided that the Opinion Award would go to La Potocine - a self-managed community cinema in Ciudad Bolívar, Bogota, by the Arquitectura Expandida collective, which was represented at the Festival by Ana López. 

The cinema was built using an existing tiered structure, constructed with guadua (Colombian bamboo with structural properties) in partnership with the "Ojo al Sancocho" collective and community film festival which has been running for 15 years in Ciudad Bolívar, one of the urban areas hardest hit by violence and displacement in Colombia. It was built on private land donated by the Cerros del Sur School, a leading community education project that was established back in 1982.

The proposal arose from the need to have a cinema that would not only serve to provide logistical support for the activities performed in the school, but would also be a symbolic, local model to follow: the first community cinema in Ciudad Bolívar and a highly symbolic visual and spatial element, that enables us to reflect on how the right to be seen and acknowledged is also a requirement among citizens. The self-build process was seen as an opportunity to explore organisational and collective dynamics and for the participants to exchange knowledge, with a strong focus on the audiovisual process.

The design of the space was conditioned by the many limitations of a process without sufficient institutional support, but also by the social, technical and organisational tools that we had at our disposal.

We used a piece of land, donated by the Cerros del Sur School (ICES), made up of two concrete platforms, on which there were originally two prefabricated huts that had been part of the original school. It was decided to keep the one at the top, which would be the entrance, the workshop room, the audiovisual production room and the sound room; the majority of the building was performed on the site where the lower hut had been: La Potocine Cinema.

A guadua structure (Colombian bamboo) with inner cladding of thermo-acoustic tiles and an outer cladding of alveolar polycarbonate, allowing us to include little touches which are visible, on the understanding that in a self-build process, showing the construction system used also makes a political point. The seats in the cinema were built using an extension of the truss structure used to build the tiered section and with fabrics that were sewn by women from the neighbourhood, forming comfortable and flexible “deckchairs”.