The Last Song Before the War


The Last Song Before the War is a documentary that captures the inspiring rise and uncertain future of Mali’s annual Festival in the Desert. The festival history is told from the perspective of the co-founder and festival director, Manny Ansar, the musicians who perform and the intrepid travelers from around the world who make the long journey to attend the festival. Against the backdrop of stunning musical performances, the film subtly reveals the challenges and triumphs of creating an artistic event in such challenging economic and political circumstances. After 12 years of success and unforgettable musical moments, the Festival in the Desert came to a halt in 2012 when Tuareg rebels and Islamic militants seized control of Northern Mali.

Kiley Kraskouskas is a producer, co-founder and president of Thinking Forward Media.  She holds a Master Degree in Sociology from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Denver.

Cinematography: Jonathan Ingalls
Editor: Leola Calzolai-Stewart
Production: Andrea Papitto, Leola Calzolai-Stewart