Bolek and Lolek’s Indian Scooter Trip
small, Bolek and Lolek’s Indian Scooter Trip, A still from the animated movie Bolek and Lolek in the Wild West, photo: press materials, bolek_i_lolek_na_dzikim_zachodzie_kinoport.jpg
Bolek, Lolek and Reksio – these cartoon characters will entertain children in India in March 2015, thanks to Robert Maciąg, who will travel 2500km along the Ganges on his scooter, with a folding screen and a projector under his arm.
In 2013 Robert “Robb” Maciąg took Reksio and Bolek and Lolek to Nepal.
Back then, we had a stationary cinema next to a school by a Buddhist convent in Jharkot. We wanted to show the kids something Polish. Was I supposed to show them the paintings of Matejko or Beksiński? We decided it would be cartoons: Bolek and Lolek, and Reksio, because they lack dialogues. We packed a laptop, a projector for four movie nights. They enjoyed Bolek and Lolek at the Dentist and [Bolek and Lolek] in the Wild West the most. The adults would laugh as well.
Now, he will travel around India together with the Polish cartoon characters. He named his project Tuk Tuk Cinema (tuk-tuk is another name for an auto rickshaw or bajaj, a type of a three-wheeled taxi commonly used in India). Maciąg wanted to travel India in an auto-rickshaw, but – as he said – the idea failed, as there were too many difficulties with licenses, registration and so on. In the end he decided to ride a scooter. He leaves on 9th March from New Delhi, and wishes to travel about 2500 km along the Ganges to reach Kolkata.
This is going to be my trip, my adventure, talking to people. And the cinema will be what I want to do for them. A mission with a very small “m”, without pathos.
On his scooter he will pack a projector, a foldable screen, a laptop, speakers and a transducer, which will enable him to generate electricity from the scooter’s battery, if, as is common, electricity isn’t available.
I will stay in India for a month, I assume I should be able to do 20 shows. Each will take an hour, an hour and a half.
What’s important is that when Maciąg is back in Poland, the scooter and the cinema equipment will remain with his friends in Kolkata. It will be available for other enthusiasts to rent who wish to travel India with the mobile cinema. The traveller hopes that his journey will inspire other people:
I would like it to become a relay. I already have one person who has declared that he'll to continue the trip with Bolek, Lolek and Reksio.
"Robb" Maciąg’s project is patronised by the Animated Film Studio in Bielsko-Biała, where the cartoon was made. The studio has equipped Maciąg with the films. As Piotr Płatek from the studio says:
Robert is a positive madman, a person positively inclined, we support people like that. The studio co-operates with many travellers, charitable organisations. The cartoons were given to Janina Ochojska, and along with her and PAH (Polska Akcja Humanitarna – Polish Humanitarian Organisation) they visited Albania, Japan after the earthquake, and South Sudan, exactly a month ago.
According to Płatek, Bolek and Lolek is Poland’s animated number one:
Someone estimated that by now Bolek and Lolek have been watched by a billion viewers worldwide; they visited all continents, over 100 countries. It’s a brand. These cartoons are universal, based on simple gags, they entertain children no matter where they come from. There is no violence, but there’s a moral. They lack dialogues, and that’s what makes it simple to show them all over the world.
Two years ago Bolek and Lolek turned 50 years old, Reksio will reach 50 any day. Płatek stresses that Reksio or Bolek and Lolek are not the only Polish animated films that are popular among foreign audiences:
In Bielsko we’ve got Pampalini and Baltazar Gąbka. They continue to regain their popularity, after many generations were brought up watching those cartoons.
Maciąg quickly raised the estimated 7 thousand zloty via the crowdfunding portal PolakPotrafi.pl. Crowdfunding aims to mobilise as many people as possible to contribute even a small amount of money.
Bolek i Lolek
When it comes to financing, Maciąg stresses:
The idea was that the trip is mine, so I’m paying for it, but the cinema will be funded by all of us. Instead of something material, I want to give those kids an experience, they will remember it for years.
Robert Maciąg is a double laureate of the Traveler award presented by National Geographic magazine. He’s also authored a few travelogues. He co-created the Szkoły na Końcu Świata / Schools at the End of the World foundation, he also conducts ethnographic workshops in schools. His trip to India can be followed at Tuktukcinema.com and the project’s Facebook profile.
Source: PAP, edit. K.K., transl. Agata Dudek 09/03/15.