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The Film Foundation is a US-based non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation and the exhibition of restored and classic cinema. It was founded by director Martin Scorsese and several other leading filmmakers in 1990. The foundation raises funds and awareness for film preservation projects and creates educational programs about film. More than half of all films made before 1950 have been lost, and a mere 10% of those produced in the US prior to 1929 survive. Even more recent films are deteriorating. Because of the risk of deterioration and color fading as films age, Martin Scorsese “began his film preservation crusade in 1980”, educating both the industry and the public about the problem.
“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.
“FEPACI is dedicated to the cause of African Cinema, UNESCO has led the way in the protection and preservation of culture, and I’m pleased to be working in partnership with both organisations on this important and very special initiative.”
FEPACI secretary general Cheick Oumar Sissoko added: “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.
“From the beginning, African filmmakers have strived to celebrate this patrimony through the wonderful art of the cinema. Preserving this filmic heritage is both a necessity and an emergency. These images must be located, restored and shown to Africans and to the world in movie theatres and state-of-the-art cinémathèques. We pledge to work toward achieving this goal with our partners from The Film Foundation and UNESCO who have long dealt with heritage issues.”