Preserving Mali’s Motion Picture Heritage

Preserving Mali’s Motion Picture Film Heritage is an exciting project that took place in November and December.  With funding from a US Public Diplomacy Small Grant, Bouna Cherif Fofana and Alassane Poudjougou of the Center National de la Cinématographie du Mali (CNCM), traveled to the United States for technical training, knowledge exchange and professional development in the field of conservation, restoration and digitization.  We partnered with New York-based nonprofit media preservation organization XFR Collective spending 3 weeks in New York meeting with professional film archivists. Then we spend a week in Washington with media archivists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Preserving Mali’s Motion Picture Film Heritage project is the long-awaited beginning of the realization of a dream.  Janet first saw the CNCM film archives more than 25 years ago.  Since then, she has been concerned about their preservation due to the storage conditions which has caused them to decay. The more than 2,000 reels, mainly from the 1960s and 1970s are mainly newsreels from the first and second republic in Mali.  Acting as a curator and cultural liason to facilitate communication and collaboration between the two cultures that she knows quite well, it was Janet’s pleasure to help the preservation and eventual scanning of these films come into vue.