nullFilmed at the three-day Festival au Desert held near Timbuktu, Mali, Woodstock in Timbuktu is a feature documentary that tells the story of what I’ve been told is an amazing music festival in the Sahara. 

“Congratulations to Bombino from the Republic of Niger for replacing their Kalashnikovs with guitars!” 

That statement opens the film, which follows 3 bands from different regions, each telling their own unique story: Amanar sings about the discrimination of nomads; Tartit is a traditional women’s band. They met in a refugee camp, but now perform songs about peace and love; and finally Bombino, who warns of multinational companies exploiting the mineral resources of the African continent.

At the music festival, the nomadic Kel Tamasheq (Touareg) people come together to preserve their culture, protest inequalities, and stand up to the militant groups and corporations encroaching on their land. 

The film is directed by Dutch filmmaker Désirée von Trotha – her feature directorial debut. 

The 90-minute film will next screen at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s SOUND + VISION (July 26 to August 1) screening series – a music documentary series exploring a range of musical artists, genres and styles.

It screens Sunday, July 28, at 1:30pm. 

All screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 144 West 65th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.

A first trailer for Woodstock in Timbuktu has arrived and is embedded below: