Musically acclaimed blind couple Amadou and Mariam attempt to use their music to inspire the nation of Mali out of conflict.
Amadou and Mariam met at Mali’s school for the Blind, fell in love, and have been playing music together ever since. Though being blind is tantamount to being a beggar in Mali, the couple’s home country, the duo has against all odds become one of the most famous and influential musicians to come out of Africa, winning international awards and even being nominated for Grammy’s. You can listen to some of their music and watch their videos on their official youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/amadouandmariam
In Amadou and Mariam – One Song at a Time we will follow Amadou and Mariam as they return home to Mali, which is currently in a state of emergency. On their journey, they hope to be a voice to the voiceless, from musicians who are victimized every day, to the average person affected by the current conflict.
Islamist rebels have taken over northern parts of Mali and violently implemented Sharia law, which has resulted in foreign military intervention. The rebels have banned music and persecuted them by cutting off their limbs, destroying instruments, and even whipping them, forcing them to flee their homes and seek refuge in the capital of Bamako.
What is the film about?
This film is about a couple whose love and talent has not only driven them to achieve what many said was impossible, but to then use their influence to return home and try make a difference. We will travel to Mali from Europe with Amadou and Mariam and follow them as they try to raise awareness of the crisis in Mali and try to help on the ground. We will travel with them as they meet fellow musicians in Bamako, the capital of Mali, and see first hand the problems and difficulties they face, and beyond their interest in music, we will see if they can work out how they can best use their influence to help the population in despair.
Intertwined with the current situation in Mali and Amadou and Mariam’s role in it, and accompanied by the soundtrack of Amadou and Mariam’s beautiful music, the film will chart the couples history, music, and personal journey.
What we need?
We are looking to raise £15000 through kickstarter and we really need your help. In August 2013, we will travel to Bamako with Amadou and Mariam and follow them during their time there. We have so far managed to get by using our own funds, but we are in need of your assistance so that we can make this film.
Your donations will go towards helping our crew follow Amadou and Mariam to Mali from Europe. Besides travel and accommodation costs, your funds will assist us in getting archive, hiring locals in Bamako to be our fixers, film licences, visa’s, equipment hire, and editing.
Your Contribution is Important
No donation is too small. We appreciate everyone of you helping us with getting this film made. We only have 3 weeks left to go, and unless we reach our total we won’t receive any pledged funds. We really need your help to make this a reality. Please help us and be part of a project that aims to humanise a conflict through two amazing people and their journey to once again succeed when the odds are stacked against them.
Please keep in touch with us. You can contact us with the following:
A message from the directors:
Having long been fans of Amadou and Mariam’s music, the idea of making a documentary on them started when we saw them in concert in early 2012. The situation in Mali was worsening, and during the concert, Amadou and Mariam mentioned that they wanted to do something to help.
After we had been in touch and started to spend time together, we realized that this story was not just one of music, or that of a blind couple making it despite their disadvantages, it also encompassed two people wanting to help others in need at a time of crisis.
With this in mind, we see the film as a very personal journey of these two characters. In the vein of music films such as Don’t Look Back and Buena Vista Social Club, the film aims to offer an insight into the lives of our characters, and also the environment and political climate around them.
Whilst keeping a sense of informal, fly on the wall style, we would like to do something cinematic and stylized within certain scenes, for example concerts, or private quiet moments, whereby we can try connect with the audience a sense of what it is like in their world, not being able to see, where sound design would play a very important role.
Though the film will touch on politics, music, and religion, at heart it will be a very candid story about two people in love overcoming adversity. It is a story many of us can relate to.
Having made his first film Night Commuters, in Northern Uganda, about the children affected by war, Marc went on to work with acclaimed film-maker Nick Broomfield on a number of his films, co-writing and associate producing Battle for Haditha. He also produced Broomfield’s Sarah Palin: You Betcha!, which premiered at Toronto Film Festival and was shown at IDFA and London Film Festival, and is currently producing his upcoming films for Sky and Channel 4.
Marc directed and produced “Shooting Ghosts”, a documentary following Broomfield making his film Ghosts, and directed a film for Amnesty International, Still Human, Still Here, about the destitution of refused asylum seekers. He went on to direct On That Day, an investigative look at a massacre by US Marines of Iraqi civilians in 2005 for Channel 4 in the UK.
Returning to Africa, Marc worked with long term colleague Juan Reina, and together co-directed and produced Albino United – a documentary following an albino football team in Tanzania, a country where albinos are murdered for their body parts, which are believed to bring wealth and good luck. The film was made with Channel 4 and National Geographic, and screened internationally at IDFA, Sheffield, and other festivals.
Juan Reina is a Finnish/Spanish filmmaker whose speciality is in documentaries. His films have achieved awards and nominations in various different festivals around the world like IDFA, Sheffield, Tampere and Cairo. Juan has directed, shot and edited films and series for National Geographic, Channel 4, YLE, MTV 3 Finland among others.
Juan’s work consists of films like “Albino United” and “Iseta- Behind the Roadblock”. He just released his latest documentary “6954 Kilometres to Home” winning an award in Tampere Film Festival and a six episode documentary series for YLE called “Operation Mannerheim”.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Risk and Challenges:
Making any film is always risky, but filming in a conflict area can be even more challenging. We have worked in various places in Africa including South Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi, so our experience working in different cultures will make it easier to have successful results. We have a fixer and associate producer in Mali, making them invaluable to our navigation there.
Most importantly, Amadou & Mariam, their management, and their record label, are committed to the project making working with them in Mali and wherever they tour after much easier.
As with any project, unexpected challenges and intriguing events occur that one cannot predict, but we are fully committed to making the best possible film, where your help is absolutely essential.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.