article via shadowandact.com
The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 750 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world.
The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has restored 28 films from 20 different countries representing the rich diversity of world cinema. In addition, the foundation’s free educational curriculum, “The Story of Movies,” teaches young people – over 10 million to date – about film language and history.
Martin Scorsese is the founder and chairman of The Film Foundation which today announced what it calls the African Film Heritage Project, created to do what is very necessary work – locate, restore, and preserve African films; many of which are seemingly *lost* to history, or just not widely accessible and could greatly benefit from restoration and re-release/re-discovery.
African cinema history is deeper than many outside of the continent might realize. But, as has been noted on this blog in the past, some of the older films are impossible to get one’s hands on, unless made by the continent’s higher profile filmmakers like the late Ousmane Sembene.
The project is in partnership with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and UNESCO. Said Scorsese during the announcement: “There are so many films in need of restoration from all over the world. We created the World Cinema Project to ensure that the most vulnerable titles don’t disappear forever. Over the past 10 years the WCP has helped to restore films from Egypt, India, Cuba, the Philippines, Brazil, Armenia, Turkey, Senegal, and many other countries. Along the way, we’ve come to understand the urgent need to locate and preserve African films title by title in order to ensure that new generations of filmgoers — African filmgoers in particular — can actually see these works and appreciate them.”
As Cheick Oumar Sissoko, FEPACI secretary general (and a Malian filmmaker), notes: “Africa needs her own images, her own gaze testifying on her behalf, without the distorting prism of others, of the foreign gaze saddled by prejudice and schemes. We must bear witness to this cradle of humanity which has developed a rich and immense human, historical, cultural and spiritual patrimony.”
This will certainly go a long way towards making African films – especially classics of African cinema – widely accessible, and hopefully help fuel budding filmmakers across the continent.