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New Stop-Motion Animated Film Restoration by Pioneer Filmmaker from Niger

Image : "Samba le Grand" directed by Moustapha Alassane

A recent restoration of Moustapha Alassane’s Samba le Grand in 2K will premiere at Il Cinema Ritrovato festival in Bologna, Italy on Monday, June 24, 2019 thanks to a partnership between New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP), the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.

The Film Department of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy initiated and oversaw the restoration of Moustapha Alassane’s Samba le Grand (1977), a stop-motion animated short film, in partnership with NYU MIAP and the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français. Samba le Grand is part of the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français’ collection and the restoration was supervised by NYU MIAP faculty and the graduate film preservation class.
This restoration follows the first-ever retrospective of Alassane’s films in May 2017 at MoMA, organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, with support from the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français. The retrospective helped bring international recognition to Moustapha Alassane, a post-independence filmmaker from Niger. Since then, his work has been screened extensively in North America.

Il Cinema Ritrovato festival is organized by Cineteca di Bologna and dedicated to the rediscovery of the newest restored films as well as miraculous rarities. This year’s edition will pay a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the FESPACO; the restoration of Samba le Grand will be part of this series along two other films of Moustapha Alassane: Le Retour d’un Aventurier and Kokoa.


Samba le Grand
Directed by Moustapha Alassane
Year: 1977 - Runtime: 14 mins - Country:  Niger
World Premiere of the restoration in 2K at Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna – Monday, June 24 at 11:00am.

Alassane’s Samba le Grand, coming just a decade after African independence, re-advocates the value of the spoken word to African leaders in particular. The renewed demands of Analiatou Bari could easily be a symbol for Western economic structures extolling sacrifices, tighter regulation of the economy in agreement after agreement, forever delaying various promises made. It could also stand for the broken promises of nationalist leaders, constantly making more promises to hold their own demise at bay. Composed of drawings made directly on celluloid films and photographed puppets, Samba le Grand combines the rudimentary yet precise artistry of a puppet show with the elaborate drawings of a cartoon. It is also the first African animation entirely in color.

Sada Niang, Nationalist African Cinema: Legacy and Transformations, Lexington Books, New York 2014

More information about this screening and the "Cinemalibero. Fespaco 1969-2019" program:


Others films of Moustapha Alassane presented in the same program:

Le Retour d’un aventurier
Directed by Moustapha Alassane
Year : 1966 – Runtime : 34 mins – Country: Niger
Restoration in 2K by the CNC at II Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna

Jimmy, returning from a trip to the United States, returns to his village in Niger. He brings back to his friends a complete set of Wild West cowboys. From now on, dressed in American mythology, they are no longer called Kali, Ibrahim or Boubakar, but Black Cooper, James Kelly, Casse-Tout or Queen Christine. And, like what they imagine to be a real band of cowboys, they will ransack the area, provoking villagers' anger.

Kokoa
Directed by Moustapha Alassane
Year : 2001 – Runtime : 14 mins – Country : Niger – Format: 35mm

It's a feast day in the kingdom of frogs! Around an arena thousands of people gathered to see the greatest wrestlers face the country and between each fight Tountia, accompanied by his musicians, gives a concert that puts the room into a trance.


New York University’s Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program is a two-year, interdisciplinary course of study that trains future professionals to manage and preserve collections of film, video, digital, and multimedia works. MIAP is situated within New York University’s Department of Cinema Studies, part of the Kanbar Institute of Film & Television in the acclaimed Tisch School of the Arts.

Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français is charged with preserving and disseminating African film heritage, the Institut français holds one of the largest collections of African films from the 1960s to the present day. Created in 1961 by the Ministry of Cooperation, the Cinémathèque Afrique contributes to the preservation, restoration, digitization, promotion and dissemination of African cinema worldwide. It provides researchers and programmers with a catalogue of over 1,700 titles, including over 600 royalty-free titles for non-commercial distribution. 

In 2018, the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français and the CNC (centre national du cinema et de l’image animée) launched a restoration plan to restore twenty African heritage films for the Africa 2020 Cultural Season to be held in France. Le Retour d’un aventurier and Samba le grand by Moustapha Alassane are part of this priority list of films to restore. Additionally, two films of Djibril Diop Mambety La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (1998, 44 mins) and Le Franc (1994, 45mins) will also be presented in world premiere at Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna in a restored version thanks to Waka films and the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut Français and the CNC.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C and eight other cities across the country, the French Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnership between French and American artists, institutions, and universities on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

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