The image of Africa often presented to the Western world is a partial and biased one. It highlights misery and conceals the many positive aspects of the continent, without considering responsibilities and those responsible for this. Films can be an effective tool to change this reductionist view. Nevertheless, African filmmaking faces a number of challenges: the significant reduction in number of films produced, the increasing difficulties movie makers face to get their film distributed, the vanishing of African films from worldwide screens, the dramatic reduction in the number of movie theatres in Africa, the absence of a national or regional market for African films, the lack of significantly supportive cultural policies and production’s dependency on external funds (almost 90%).
To fulfill its mission, Al Tarab works to achieve two main objectives:
1. To encourage the development of African and Arab cultural industries as a means of supporting human and economic development. We need to back and accompany the sector’s professionalization, the emergence of an audiovisual market, both domestic and international, film co-productions and the development of a distribution network that, nowadays, is practically inexistent. A country that places its money on culture is a country that aims for sustainable human development, as South Africa’s positive experience proves.
2. To facilitate everyone’s access to Sub-Saharan and Arab cinematography as a means of raising awareness. This means offering a plural and enriching image of these countries, and leaving clichés and preconceived ideas that only recall limitations behind. Al Tarab creates the necessary conditions to further mutual knowledge between Africa, the Arab countries and Europe, contributing to the creation of better informed and more respectful societies that are more tolerant toward the Other. In this sense, Education for Development is one of Al Tarab’s fundamental prerogatives.