Toiles Enchantées (Les)

Itinerant film association for hospitals / Supported by the Foundation (2010)

“When children can’t go to the cinema, the cinema must come to them,” writes Alain Chabat on the home page of the Toiles enchantées website. Chaired since 1997 by this former member of comedy act “Les Nuls”, the association travels throughout the Paris region, the provinces and further afield (Belgium, Mali, Burkina Faso etc.), showing its films in children’s hospitals and re-education and rehabilitation centres for ill and disabled children.

The films shown are up-to-date and sometimes even ahead of events thanks to occasional preview screenings. The association team carries a great deal of equipment (screen, 35mm projector) to the hospital or special centre for each viewing. And then for a few hours, a large taut white screen is stretched across the refectory, canteen or waiting room. Everyone turns out, even those who can’t leave their bed or move far from their treatment machines. It’s a magical time but also a chance to meet others. “We make new friends who we don’t get to see when we’re in our rooms,” says one child. In 2008, the two itinerant teams showed 31 films over 300 times, at around 100 places and for 10,000 children. At the same time, the association runs cinema workshops encouraging young patients to try their hand at film-making, whether through writing screenplays, producing or directing. They are supervised by actors and directors such as Nils Tavernier, Isabelle Nanty or Benoît Cohen.