The Manifesto “Liberate The Image” is one outcome of 2 years of meetings within the framework of the Documentary Convention. A group of filmmakers, academics and audiovisual practitioners met and discussed the urgencies facing the access to visual memories and how to establish best practices for the preservation of the audiovisual heritage within the Arab world and the Global South .

A pre-manifesto was circulated after the first-round of meetings in April 2018, outlining the main concerns of the group, which included Ali Essafi (Filmmaker), Jihan El Tahri (Filmmaker), Mohanad Yaqubi (Filmmaker), Monica Maurer (Filmmaker), Nabil Djedouani (Practitioner) and Olivier Haddouchi (Researcher). The pre-manifesto examined  issues of accessibility to films and audiovisual archives of the Global South , and suggested steps towards mapping this human heritage and identifying the holding institutes.

This pre-manifesto was circulated among film industry professionals and feedback was collected and discussed in the second meeting of the Documentary Convention in Leipzig in April 2019.  With the input collected, a final version of the document was shaped by a group of professionals during the Documentary Convention 2019, who included the initial group alongside other audiovisual practitioners such as Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi (Archivist), Kay Dickinson (Academic), Mahasen Nasr Eldien (Filmmaker), Rasha Salti (Curator) and Sara Jubara (Filmmaker).

The group agreed that the main obstacle facing the access and preservation of the collective memories of the South, is the control of the image by institutes and multinational corporations monetizing the archives thus denying access to practitioners with limited means from the Global South.

This manifesto aims to serve as a toolkit for filmmakers, producers and audiovisual practitioners around the world to facilitate their engagement with and use of archive that concern our region.

Our aim is to find ways of injecting  our perspective into the discussion on restitution and include our voices into the global discourse.

We ask our colleagues to disseminate, circulate, discuss the manifesto, with the writers of the manifesto and all those who can be implicated.

We invite the film community to join our effort and to circulate and undersign this manifesto. We welcome contributions to its content and practical suggestions on how achieve its demands.

Sign the Manifesto here