We are three independent filmmakers telling the story of the most remote music festival in the world - the Festival Du Desert - and the battle to make it happen. Once a year, just outside of Timbuktu, the greatest rock and blues musicians from across Africa and around the world come together to sustain peace through music. What makes this festival so unique? First, it’s held in the mystical land of Tuareg nomads where camels race during the day and, when the temperature drops, the desert moon rises, the sand dunes shift, and the festival-goers become immersed in the complex musical rhythms that have been rocking this desert for the last thousand years. While the music plays musicians speak and sing about local issues such as the rights of women, of Tuareg rights, and of reconciliation. The festival is a homegrown approach to sustaining peace, democracy, and for developing tourism in Mali.
Yet, each year it’s a fight to make this festival happen thanks to Western travel advisories warning against travel to the festival. Each year thousands defy the warnings and travel safely to Mali to experience this incredible music collaboration. Past festival attendees include the likes of Robert Plant, JImmy Buffet, Ali Farka Toure, Animal Collective, Tom Freston, and more. In order to assuage the fears of tourists, the government of Mali will provide enhanced security for the event – a sign of their commitment to ensure the festival takes places.
We need money to cover our travel expenses and costs to bring our crew to Mali for two weeks to film this festival as well as interview the musicians, organizers, government officials, and participants who all come together to create the Festival in the Desert. Our film participants already include electric guitarist, Vieux Farka Toure, New York jazz musician turned Griot, Leni Stern, Mali’s own Diva of the Desert, Khaira Arby, and NPR music correspondent, Banning Eyre.
To learn more about our project you can visit, www.essakanefilm.com
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