The Film Foundation, the movie-restoration organization founded and chaired by Martin Scorsese, has partnered with the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and UNESCO in a project to locate, restore and preserve films made on the African continent. Dubbed the African Film Heritage Project, the group will identify 50 films with historic, artistic and cultural significance, then work to restore them.
It’s the latest film genre for the Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. In this case, in association with its partner Cineteca di Bologna and UNESCO, it will support the investigation, location and restoration of an initial selection of 50 films as identified by FEPACI’s advisory board made up of archivists, scholars and filmmakers active across the African Continent. A survey to locate the best existing film elements for each title will be conducted in African cinémathèques and film archives worldwide.
“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,” Scorsese said today in a release. “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 filmgoer — African filmgoers in particular — can actually see these works and appreciate them.”
Added FEPACI secretary general Cheick Oumar Sissoko: “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.”