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Martin Scorsese And More Move To Restore African Film

martin scorsese

Martin Scorsese and other organizations are heavily focused on restoring African film. Scorsese’s own Film Foundation World Cinema Project, plus UNESCO and FEPACI, are officially signed on to this initiative.

Leading the pack, with Martin Scorsese, are Aboubakar Sanogo and Irina Bokova (from UNESCO). This new initiative will help support the restoration of fifty major African films.

Aboubakar Sanogo, from Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), knows how difficult it is for an African film to make it outside. It took him years to even see one of the major films from Africa. Sanogo, according to Indie Wire, was only able to see “Soleil O” in 2006. “Soleil O” was a movie directed by Med Hondo and was released in 1973. It was unavailable even in Burkina, the capital city of African Cinema. Sanogo recognizes this as a huge problem.

Which is why FEPACI, UNESCO and Martin Scorsese’s Foundation World Cinema Project have signed a letter of agreement on June 7. The letter formalizes the new initiative which aims to preserve African film. To signify the start of their initiative, “Soleil O” was already screened in Cannes Classics in the same month.

Supporting African Cinema Classics

The African Film Heritage Project, as unveiled by the Film Foundation, will locate, restore and preserve films in partnership with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers as well. In addition, it will not only aim to restore but also disseminate African film around the world.

According to the Martin Scorsese, he described African films to be historically, artistically and culturally significant. His explanation sprouted from the passion he bore from Souleymane Cissé’s 1987 sorcerer film “Yeelen.” It was at this point where Scorsese realized that if African cinema will not be restored, the future generations will never know who they were.

Irina Bokova, the UNESCO director-general, claims that Cinema is about history and storytelling. Which is why she sees this new initiative as an opportunity for many to find one’s roots. In addition, she said that the effort of this project will also promote cultural diversity, foster African creativity and help provide access to African classic films.

The popular American director, producer, screenwriter, and film historian further explains that Cinema is a means to open one’s mind and curiosity for other cultures. Scorsese’s career, which spans for more than fifty years, has been reportedly always aimed to support the film community.

Over Fifty African Films Will Be Restored

Sanogo is excited about this new initiative as it will open up awareness for African cinema. He expresses that he wants to see these historical images back for Africans specifically, not only for filmmakers. At one point, Sanogo explained that his film students confessed that they wanted to hold a piece of celluloid film and shoot on it. From that point, he adds that he has seen the energy and desire to make films in Africa.

There are already fifty African films that are identified and supported in this initiative. It is not yet known if more will be added.

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