Storytelling is an ancient custom in the culture of Djibouti. Love of cinema in is but a modern, visual incarnation and continuation of this well-established tradition. The earliest forms of public film display in Djibouti were in French. In the 1920s, the first local movie theaters opened, during a time when Djibouti City was growing in size. Film screening establishments became a place where local residents could watch movies in a relaxed atmosphere. With the development of the local film industry, additional theatres were launched. Among these establishments was the Eden in 1934, Olympia in 1939, Le Paris in 1965, and Al Hilal in 1975.
During the 1970s, the capital city had five movie theatres, with one in each district. A few local attempts at filmmaking were also concurrently carried out with the participation of local actors. One of these was Burta Djinka, a film in Somali directed by G. Borg in 1972. Following independence in 1977, a growing number of government-owned production and distribution companies as well as actual projection theaters sprang up.