CCP Launches in Freetown!

It is with great excitement and pride, that we at AFF announce the official launch of the Sierra Leone Cultural Conservation Program!

AFF’s New York-based administrative team spent the last month in Sierra Leone, where we hired a team of talented, dedicated staff members; built upon our strong relationships with the Sierra Leone National Museum, the Freetown Film Festival, and our other associates on the ground; established the CCP office and workshop space on the premises of the National Museum; and, most importantly, assembled a passionate group of aspiring young media-makers and cultural conservationists, who will form the core of the CCP workshop. Together, our New York-based staff and new Sierra Leonean colleagues have set in motion what we truly believe is a groundbreaking program, which promises to facilitate cultural production and exhibition, with renewed energy and reach, in Sierra Leone. The team we have assembled is committed—even, perhaps, beyond what we had hoped!—to propelling the CCP throughout its inaugural 3-year workshop, and, we believe, into a promising and sustainable future.

This diverse team of staff members and participants had the opportunity to meet—and, to our greatest pleasure, to bond with one another—during the CCP launch reception held on Thursday, March 3, 2011. The event, originally intended to be a meet-and-greet and a thank you to our friends and supporters on the ground, quickly turned into a celebration, as CCP workshop participant Mohamed Kamara took to the floor to sing a song he recently composed! His performance inspired the other participants and staff to regale the group with songs, jokes, and stories—shyly at first, then with a bravado and camaraderie one would expect from a group of lifelong friends.

The group had one another rolling with laughter, and by the end, wiping tears after an especially beautiful rendition of Mariah Carey’s 1993 hit, “Hero.” By the time an unexpected power outage brought the reception to a close, the CCP group had formed the foundation for a solid team, based on friendship, mutual respect, and shared passions. What more could we ask for? It was an inspirational event, which we believe foreshadows remarkable years to come!

About the Author

Mahen Bonetti

Mahen Bonetti is the Founder and Executive Director of African Film Festival, Inc. As ED, she curates and facilitates all AFF programming in conjunction with AFF staff and participating partners. She has served on panels for the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ougadougou (FESPACO), the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Africa's U.S. diplomatic offices, among others. Bonetti is the recipient of France's Chevalier De L'Ordre Des Arts Et Des Lettres, an award bestowed by the French government. Mahen Bonetti is originally from Sierra Leone. Learn More