Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation Launches African Film Heritage Project to Restore Over 50 African Films

(image via shadowandact.com)

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.

To read full article, go to: Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation Launches African Film Heritage Project to Restore 50+ African Films – Shadow and Act

Forest Whitaker Works on Training Youth and “Overwhelming the World with Good” Through the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative

UNOCHA

Forest Whitaker (photo via huffingtonpost.com)

Three days ago, the world celebrated its 34th International Day of Peace. Two days from now, leaders from around the globe will gather at the United Nations and pledge their commitment to 17 Sustainable Development Goals, among them, Goal 16, promoting peace and justice. This week, then, is a perfect occasion for us to reflect on a concept that we all strive toward but whose true meaning often escapes us.

We usually think and talk about peace as the absence of bad things. Peace is a lack of war. Peace is a lack of violence. But true peace isn’t just the absence of bad; it is the presence of good. Peace is people having their most-basic human needs met. Peace is people exchanging knowledge and ideas. Peace is people sharing an abiding and mutual respect. Peace is people working together toward a common goal.

On the surface, this might seem like a small, semantic distinction. But, in practice, the difference between a negative peace — the absence of bad — and a positive peace — the presence of good — carries enormous consequences.

Over the past 10 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of former child soldiers. I’ve seen firsthand that, for these young men and women who have been forced to commit some of the most brutal atrocities imaginable, it is not enough to simply remove the violence from their lives. We can take a young man out of an army, but unless we fill that void with something positive — with an education, a job, a community — he is not truly free. He is still a soldier at heart, and when the next conflict breaks out five or 10 years in the future, he will be among the first recruited back to the battlefield.

True peace isn’t just the absence of bad; it is the presence of good. – Forest Whitaker

For these children — and in the world around us — building a lasting peace requires not only that we end conflicts and violence, but that we build societies that allow all women and men to learn freely, to become active participants in their local economies, and, most importantly, to feel safe in their homes and villages.

This principle is especially relevant in South Sudan, a country that has been at the forefront of my thoughts recently. A few weeks ago, the South Sudanese government and rebel forces finally signed a peace agreement after a 20-month civil war that has resulted in an unbearable amount of human suffering — tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of approximately 2.2 million people. This peace agreement is an important step in the right direction, and all of us in the international community hope that both sides honor its terms. But even this cessation of violence is no guarantee of a true peace.

The agreement makes me optimistic that the people of South Sudan will soon have some relief from this terrible conflict, but what truly gives me hope for that nation’s future are the remarkable young women and men I’ve met and worked with there. I’ve spoken with youths at the protection-of-civilians camp in the capital city of Juba who, in spite of all they’ve been through, speak with such unwavering passion about working together to rebuild their country. I’ve met teachers who have told me how excited they are to finish their training and go back to their communities and help ensure that every child in South Sudan receives the education she or he deserves. I have seen women and men reaching across ethnic lines to warn others of danger and coming together to advocate for non-violence and reconciliation.

That is what true peace — a positive peace — entails. All of these young women and men have identified some need in their communities, and they have been working in whatever way they can, despite the violence, to fill that need. Their courage is an example for us all.

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From Samba to Carnival: Brazil’s Thriving African Culture

Brazil's thriving African cultureBrazil’s thriving African culture

Rio de Janeiro (CNN) — From samba and carnival to food, music and religion, African culture is everywhere in Brazil.  The cultural heritage stems from the estimated four million slaves who were brought to the country over a 300-year period, at least four times as many as to the United States.  Brazil was the last country to abolish the slave trade in 1888. More than half of Brazilians now identify themselves as black or of mixed race, according to the latest census.

Rio de Janeiro now has the most famous carnival in the world, attracting an estimated 1.1 million visitors to the city this year and with 5.3 million people taking part in street parties, according to the English language newspaper The Rio Times.

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