SOMALIAN Director’s Lost and Find Story: Discovers his film in NFAI after 34 years!

SOMALIAN Director's Lost and Find Story: Discovers his film in NFAI after 34 years!

This was straight out of a typical Indian Film narrating the lost and find story!  A Somalian Film Director, who had given up his hope of finding his debut feature film, was left speechless on spotting the cans of film reels at Pune based National Film Archive of India!    It was an emotional reunion of a film director and his film at NFAI on Thursday! Said Salah Ahmed, now 74, a Somalian Film Director came all the way from USA to Pune in search of his film 'A Somali Dervish' made in 1984. He had last seen the film in 1985 in Abu Dhabi after which it was considered to be lost. “I am so emotional today that I have no words to express my joy and happiness on finding these film reels. It is like finding your own child back after so many years,” said Said Salah Ahmed. “This was my first film and is very special because the film is a documentation of the revolutionary Somali Dervish Movement under the leadership of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, who was revered by Somalis as a national hero. There is not a single print of my film available anywhere in the world and I am truly grateful to NFAI for having preserved the film,” he added. 


“We are thrilled to discover that a Somalian film has been found in our collection which is so important in the history of Somalia. The 35 mm film, the negatives of which were deposited in NFAI several years back after Bombay Lab was closed down. Cinema as a medium has no language and no borders and we are proud to have preserved a part of the cinematic heritage of a country in our vaults,” said Prakash Magdum, Director NFAI. “A few months back we received a query from an award-winning filmmaker and photographer Mark Brecke who is working on a documentary that focuses on Somali Cinema.  In turn, Mauli Singh, the field producer of the documentary, Somalia In the Picture which is tracing the lost film heritage of Somalia destroyed in the war, visited us and the search was undertaken through our database that resulted in this rare find,” Prakash Magdum said. 


The film, 4 hours and 40 minutes long, has dialogues in seven languages including Somali, Arabic, Italian, English and Hindi. The movie included an actual descendant of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan as its star and featured interviews of several participants of the revolution. The film was edited and processed in the Bombay Lab in Mumbai in 1983-84. 


"I have been working on a film project on Somali cinema and filming the remains of the Somali film industry and cinemas. The project is supported by UNESCO and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Finding this prestigious feature film in NFAI has been the most incredible story on Somali cinema. The fact that NFAI houses two Somali films is a testament to the commitment the institution has to preserve and sustain the cinematic arts,” said Mark Brecke.


Like in Indian Cinema, this Somalian film had a happy ending; in NFAI!

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