Alex Gibney, Wim Wenders & Michael Meredith Partner For Music Documentary

Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney and Academy Award-nominated director Wim Wenders announced today they have partnered with director Michael Meredith for a new documentary ‘Return to Timbuktu’.

Meredith, with the support of  Gibney, and Wenders have been following the journey to restore peace in Mali through music since Michael first met Festival au Desert organizer Manny Ansar in the Malian capital Bamako in February 2013.  The filmmaking team has followed him around the world—from Mali and Burkina Faso to Wales and the UN General Assembly in New York—as he campaigns for international awareness of the Malian crisis, encourages refugees to return to their homes, and rallies musicians to use their voices to reunite a war torn country.

The destabilization of the Western African nation of Mali began in March 2012, when a military coup turned the country’s historic city Timbuktu into a violent war zone.  Islamic militants imposed Sharia law, forcing more than one million Malians to flee, resulting in the largest displacement of people in the history of the Southern Sahara.  The French military reclaimed control of the city in February 2013, but countless Malians remain in refugee camps, plagued by shortages of food, shelter, and security, and the militants’ egregious ban of all music remains unbroken.  Mali, considered the birthplace of modern rhythm and blues, has fallen silent.

Support ‘Return to Timbuktu’ on IndieGogoHERE

Manny Ansar, wants to bring the music back to his country.  Since the country’s descent into instability in 2012, the Festival au Désert was exiled from Northern Mali.  But 2015 will hopefully mark the return of the Festival to Mali, with Manny leading a Caravan of Peace to restore his homeland.

On January 27, 2014, Manny initiated a procession of traveling musicians, caravanning from refugee camps and cities to encourage Malians to return to their homes in Timbuktu.  The Caravan culminated at the Festival sur le Niger on February 5 commemorated by a Great Night of Peace. For many of the performers, this is the first time they are playing at a Festival in Mali since the conflict began. The following step will be the grand finale, returning the Festival au Desert back to Timbuktu.

Gibney, whose impressive filmography includes recent powerful documentaries such as We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks,and The Armstrong Lie, will serve as one of the film’s producers.  Wim Wenders, director of Pina and Buena Vista Social Club, has signed on as Executive Producer.  Return to Timbuktu will be directed by Michael Meredith, who co-wrote Wenders’ 2004 drama Land of Plenty and wrote and directed Three Days of Rain and The Open Road.

*IndieGoGo Perks Include: 10 day trip across Mali, guided by the Director Michael Meredith, Workshop/ master class with Wim Wenders, Alex Gibney and Michael Meredith, Authentic Touareg scarf purchased in Mali by Director, 10 day trip across Mali, guided by the Director Michael Meredith, Workshop/ master class with Wim Wenders, Alex Gibney and Michael Meredith, Authentic Touareg scarf purchased in Mali.

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