Category: Film

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai
Directed by Christopher Kirkley
w/ Jerome Fino, Mdou Moctar
75 min, HD, 2015

The first ever Tuareg language fictional film, based on the legendary rock-u-drama “Purple Rain,” Akounak or “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it” explores the world of a musician trying to succeed in the raucous subculture of the Niger guitar scene. The protagonist, real life musician Mdou Moctar, must battle fierce competition from jealous musicians, overcome family conflicts, endure the trials of love, and overcome his biggest rival – himself. Carried by stunning musical performances from Mdou, the film is a window into modern day Tuareg guitar and an experiment in participatory ethnographic filmmaking.

Developed and written by Mdou Moctar, Jerome Fino, and Christopher Kirkley and shot over 10 days, the film draws from the stylistic choices of Western film, filtered through a Saharan lens. Borrowing heavily from Purple Rain, Akounak is based on the struggle of a musician as a universal hero, and utilizes these sources while reinterpreting through protagonist Mdou Moctar’s real life experiences. In execution, many techniques have been adapted from the experimental technique of Jean Rouch – in particular, the collaborative nature to produce something that can resonate across both cultures. Akounak is the first feature fiction film in the Tamashek language. The title translates to “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red in it,” a literal translation of Purple Rain (the Tuareg language has no word for Purple) – a nod to its unlikely origins and the difficulties of translating ideas across cultures.

Akounak has screened at festivals around the world.

In Tamashek, with English/French/Spanish subtitles.

Hama “Ataraghine”

Performed by Hama.
Composed by Agaly Bekaye.
Edited by Christopher Kirkley
4 min, HD, 2015

Music video for Hama’s “Ataraghine.” Filmed in Niamey and Ingall, Niger in 2013 & 2014.

A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records

A Cosmic and Earthly History of Recorded Music According to Mississippi Records
Edited by Christopher Kirkley
45 min, HD, 2014

A combination film, lecture, slideshow and soundscape performance. This presentation sums up the entire history of recorded music from the time of the first star in the universe being born all the way to the dark ages of the 1990’s. Mixing history with mythology, the presentation creates a narrative informed by the philosophies of Mississippi Records founder Eric Issacson. Exploration of the rise of revolutionary musics, and a catalog of the forces that destroyed them. Includes some vibrant footage of 1960’s American music, including Bo Diddley, Nina Simon, Rosetta Tharpe, and The Staple Singers.

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore

I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore – Archival footage from the Mississippi Records & Alan Lomax Archive
Edited by Christopher Kirkley
50 min, HD, 2013

Film, stories & images from the Mississippi Records and Alan Lomax archive. Staggering and fascinating footage of musicians shot by the world famous song collector Alan Lomax as well as archival film, images & stories carefully dug out from Mississippi’s archive, spanning 1890 to the present day. The live footage performances are culled from rarely seen film shot during Alan Lomax’s North American travels between 1978 to 1985, as well as Mississippi Record’s own enormous library of folk blues, gospel, esoteric, international and punk music archives.

I Sing the Desert Electric

“I Sing the Desert Electric”
Short Film
19 min, HD, 2012

Recorded over three years, a collection of video shorts taken in four locations and representing four distinct and highly regional music scenes. From fuzzy electric guitars of Mauritania to raucous electro street parties of Bamako, the short survey is a window into contemporary performance in the Western Sahel.

Full video link

Youtube Ethnography: Mauritania

“Youtube Ethnography: Mauritania”
44 min, HD, 2011

An exploration of Mauritania culture and media through collage of Youtube material. Showcasing contemporary pop musics, wedding videos, cellphone recordings, television broadcast, and commercial work, this film showcases contemporary media creations and ask, how do we see ourselves? Compiled after a six month research trip to Mauritania, this piece draws on the style of “found” footage, through the eye of the cultural mediator, exploring the mutual confusion of translation of image and sound across cultural divide.


Film, Restoration
51 min, HD

“Tergit” is a film by director Hemmam Fall, Mauritanian poet, cineaste, and businessman. Filmed in 1976 around the country, the film is a mixture of documentary and fiction, with an emphasis on the diversity of musical performance. This restoration, recovered from the family of Hemmam Fall was remastered and color corrected in 2011. It was redistributed in Mauritania.