Even if connectivity was a problem, technology was on my side. While I toiled away using a sample copy of a non-profit incorporation agreement to write a mission statement, statues and other documents to submit to the IRS, I spent even longer hours researching and talking to people more expert than I about what kind of equipment would make this possible – 1) it had to be portable, and 2) able to withstand the damp forested regions of Equatorial Africa. Remember the first Ipod able to play films through Itunes was not available until 2006. This was 2004, yet still I was fortunate.
Revolutionary change in communications technology was taking place and the barriers to production and dissemination – technical, physical, and financial – had either disappeared or were greatly reduced. Video cameras had gotten smaller as their quality improved. In April of 2004 Apple had released a film-making application called Final Cut Pro, an intuitive and relatively easy editing tool that could be used on a simple laptop. We were able to put almost everything necessary to make a film into a resonably sized waterproof case and edit on a single laptop.
That summer, I had been introduced to a lawyer who would, gratis, correct and submit my nonprofit 501(c)3 request to the IRS. That summer I also discovered the the pocket projector. Our first efforts would be done on in-focus projectors run off car batteries. They would project 1,000 lumens – strong enough to fill a bed sheet. I purchased, small battery operated speakers and DVD players. Everything but the 12 Volt car batteries and the small Yamaha generator to charge those batteries could be packed in a small waterproof case.
The technology that would allow us to take message-focused films to rural villages unreachable by road or even bicycle was there. We had portability. By 2005, I had my 501(c)3 nonprofit status, and I’d recruited a Congolese crew Anatole Mafoula, an environmental filmmaker and Bonne Année Matoumona a television and radio journalist who both worked for the National Television Station and Jehu Bikoumou as editor. The Wildlife Conservation Society, WCS, offered us an office workspace in their Brazzaville office. We were ready to begin.