Kriterion Monrovia

Kriterion Monrovia is a student-run nonprofit organization focused on promoting cinema in Liberia. The group operates the only arthouse cinema in Liberia. Since its founding in 2011, it has screened over 40 films including locally produced art films.


After suffering from two civil wars where much historical and cultural knowledge were lost, Liberia struggled to develop a vibrant film culture.[1] After 14 years of conflict, in 2003 the country began the slow process of rebuilding and recovering.[2] Amid this process though, the Ebola virus epidemic violently erupted within the region and severely hit Liberia. The war-torn country totalled around 4,300 deaths due to the outbreak.[2] During this time, members of the Liberian film community stopped movie screenings and went door-to-door to help raise awareness for the virus.[2][3]


Inspired by the models of Kriterion Amsterdam and Kriterion Sarajevo, Kriterion Monrovia was started by Pandora Hodge while she was a student at University of Liberia in 2011.[1][2] Together with other students, she went to different communities in Liberia using a projector to screen about 40 different movies for the general public.[2][4][5] The group was awarded their first seed money from BSC-Spark with later support from Monrovia Breweries, the Accountability Lab, and the Liberian Ministry of Health, among others.[6]

In 2018, Kriterion Monrovia hosted the second Europe Liberian film festival. At the conclusion of the event's two-weeks of activities, which included several film screenings, the Charge D'affaires of the European Union, Emma Sundblad, announced the construction of Liberia's first arthouse cinema to be run by the student group.[7][8] A year prior, Kriterion Monrovia had launched a crowdfunding initiative in order to fund the project.[4]


  1. ^ a b M., C. (28 February 2014). "A new image: A film festival aims to change how outsiders see the country". The Economist. Monrovia. Baobab. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e Guilbert, Kieran (2 February 2016). "Movie therapy: entrepreneur helps Liberia heal from war and Ebola through film". Reuters. Monrovia. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Women of Africa: Bringing art-house cinema to Liberia". BBC News. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  4. ^ a b Freelon, Kiratiana (8 November 2017). "These Young Liberians Are Building an Arthouse Movie Theater". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Kriterion: students restoring the glory of Liberia". Afrika News. 23 November 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  6. ^ "Putting Ideas in Motion". Liberian Observer. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  7. ^ Konton, Julius (20 May 2018). "Kriterion Monrovia ends 2018 Europe Liberian film festival in grand style". KMTV News. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  8. ^ "The European Union Gives another Boost to the Promotion of Culture and Creative Industries in Liberia". European External Action Service. European Commission. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2019.

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