May 16, 2014, 7 PM
@ New York, NY

More Info


May 2014, TBD 
@ Helsinki, FINLAND

More Info


April 2014  
Willemstad, CURACAO

More Info


MAR 2014  
@ Lisbon, PORTUGAL

More Info


FEB 10, 7:25 PM & FEB 15, 5:40 PM  
@ Los Angeles, CA 

More Info


FEB 15, 2014, 6PM 
@ Victoria, BC, CANADA 

More Info


JAN 24, 2014, 8:30 PM 
@ Rotterdam, NETHERLANDS 

More Info


December 22, 2013 (Phoenix, AZ)
Hosted by No Festival Required @ Phoenix Center for the Arts

More Info


DEC 8, 2013, 3PM @ Quad Cinema (New York, NY) 
DEC 10, 2013, 8:30 PM @ Columbia Teacher's College

More Info


NOV 1, 2013, Stockholm More Info
NOV 7, 2013, Göteborg More Info
@ Doc Lounge, SWEDEN 


OCT 28, 2013, 6:30PM
The film will be shown at the HOT DOCS Bloor Cinema in collaboration with the Canadian Royal Music Conservatory with special guest Kiran Ahluwalia. 
@ Toronto, CANADA

More Info


OCT 24, 2013, 3PM
IMZ World Music Film Festival  
@ Cardiff, WALES 

More Info 


SEPT 30, 2013, 20:00, M. K. Žilinskas Art Gallery
OCT 13, 2013 21:00, Cinema "Skalvija"


More Info


AUG 23, 2013, 9PM (Washington, DC) 
@ Navy Memorial Museum, Burke Theater  

More Info  


JULY 29, 2013, 7PM (Woods Hole, MA)
@ The Community Hall 

More Info 


JUNE 3, 2013, 7PM (Fairfield, CT)
Fairfield Theater Company Screening 

More Info 


APRIL 21, 2013, 5 & 7PM (Chicago, IL)
@ The Society for the Arts

More Info

Mailing List


Kiley Kraskouskas, Director/Producer

Kiley Kraskouskas is an award-winning producer and co-founder and president of Thinking Forward Media.  Before launching Thinking Forward Media she worked as a producer and business developer for two top Virginia film companies, Rock Creek Productions of Reston, and Cortina Productions of McLean.  She then served as producer and the principal fundraiser for The Last Song Before the War.  Kiley is a sought-after instructor, speaker, and consultant whose expertise includes crowd funding, video production, and project management.  Recent films for which she has consulted include: Teach me How to Sea, Coded Stories, and The Last Battlefront.  Additional production and consulting clients include: The George Washington University, Daring or Nothing Productions, and The University of Maryland Small Business Development Center.  Kiley serves on the board of Docs in Progress and is a longtime member of Women in Film and Video (WIFV).  WIFV recently honored her with their Randy Goldman Scholarship, which provided tuition to the Maine Media Institute for the course, “Writing and Developing the Documentary.”  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.

Leola Calzolai-Stewart, Editor/Producer

Leola brings rich international experience and a passion for foreign affairs to her work as an editor.  She lived in Pretoria, South Africa (2003-2005) and Bamako, Mali (2001-2003) where she had the opportunity to attend the Festival-au-Désert.  Prior to working in film, Leola received a Master's degree in international affairs from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Bachelor’s in International Relations and Italian from the University of California, Davis.  She attended film school in Pretoria, South Africa where she worked as an assistant editor and a researcher for the television documentary show Latitudes.  Upon returning to the US, she worked as an associate producer for the Video Production Unit of the Defense Logistics Agency from 2005 to 2007, before joining the staff of Rock Creek Productions as their Senior Editor for their Washington office.  Since starting her career as an editor, she’s been the recipient of the Washington, D.C. Women in Film & Video Randy Goldman Scholarship.  She has edited projects for clients ranging from PerformTech, Lockheed Martin, Q’Nexis, and the Department of Homeland Security, in addition to editing the CINE Award winning video Better Built Together for DC’s Habitat for Humanity. 

Andrea Papitto, Producer 

Andrea Papitto has worked on various development projects in Africa for the past 7 years, ranging from ICT education, rural tourism, community-led development, and nonprofit management in countries like Ghana, Mali, Morocco, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. She has a proven track record working with key stakeholders from the Ministries of Tourism and Culture, Education, Finance, and Social Welfare; Regional and District Councils, NGOs; national media; and the private sector. After years working in the nonprofit sector in Africa and the U.S., she decided to focus her energies on tourism development as a means of economic development by launching Thinking Forward Media with her partners from The Last Song Before the War. As Vice President of Thinking Forward, she oversees business development and project management for tourism and non-profit clients. She is a regular blogger on and the Africa Travel Association. Andrea is a Member of the International Board of Directors of the Africa Travel Association, where she serves as the Co-Chair of the Youth Advisory Committee to engage youth in the tourism industry in Africa. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Tourism Development with a focus in emerging destinations from New York University.

Abou Ansar, Special Advisor

Aboubacrine (Abou) brings a wealth of knowledge and experience as an advisor to the film Essakane, especially in development concepts, Malian society, its people, and the terrain, especially the Northern regions. Aboubacrine’s family comes from the Essakane area, where they are members of the Kel Ansar tribe in the community of Temakannit, where the Festival au Desert was created.

Aboubacrine was born in Timbuktu, Mali. He completed his primary education in the regions of Gao, Kayes, and Timbuktu and finished his secondary education in Mopti. He attended the E.N.A. (National School of Administration) where he studied Legal Sciences (civil law), then Political Science at the University of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso.

Aboubacrine worked for USAID-Mali in Bamako from 1998-2000, before becoming the Projects Coordinator for the Political and Economic unit of the American Embassy in Bamako. As the Projects Coordinator, he worked on development projects spanning Mali’s 8 regions, while also serving as the Ambassador’s Field Officer for political issues in Northern Mali. In 2005, he moved to Tokyo to work for the U.S. Air Force as the Assistant Chief of Plans and Programs at Yokota Air Base. While there, he obtained a certification in Information Systems and studied Japanese language at the University of Maryland (UMUC, Asia – Tokyo). 

Aboubacrine speaks French, English, Japanese, Bambara, Tamasheq, Songhaï and other languages. This film would not be possible without his insight, knowledge, and passion for telling the story of his homeland and people. 

J. Tayloe Emery, Special Advisor  

J. Tayloe Emery spent five exciting years as the Director of Creative Development at DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) and The ONE Campaign, two organizations founded by U2's Bono (along with Jamie Drummond and Bobby Shriver) that advocate for African justice and poverty issues. There he managed creative output as their team worked to get poverty and AIDS into the American line of sight by working with Hollywood produced popular and independent film, new media, music and television productions. In late 2008 Tayloe formed the JTE Creative Group to better assist the various campaigns, organizations and non-profits that were taking form.

While at DATA (later merged into ONE) Tayloe managed celebrity and VIP acquisition & education and developed creative outlets with their supporters to get a powerful anti-poverty message out to the American public. He and his team were fortunate during this time to engage and develop many of the world’s top actors, artists and sports figures into the fight against global AIDS and extreme poverty. Given his affection for the people and culture of Mali, Tayloe has generously donated both his technical expertise and understanding of international development to Essakane Film. 

Jonathan Ingalls, Director of Photography

Jonathan has been a cinematographer on a wide variety of documentary films, having shot projects across the US, and in countries in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. His recent cinematography work includes the film, City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story, winner of Best Feature Length Documentary at the 2010 Sonoma Film Festival, as well as additional theatrically released documentaries and various non-fiction TV series and specials for such outlets as National Geographic, Discovery Channel, A&E, History Channel, and PBS. Jonathan’s excited to be joining the Essakane Film team and returning to Mali to capture the imagery of its beautiful music scene, breathtaking vistas, and incredible people.

Seth Tallman, Sound Mixer

Seth has over 20 years of experience in the sound department for both television and film. His credits include Entertainment Tonight, The InsiderBlack Swan, Blue Valentine, Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, Twilight Zones (2010), For Colored Girls, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, The Place Beyond the Pines, The Following, Treme, Not Fade Away, and Independent Lens. 

Abraham Bojorquez & Assoura Albasko, Festival Camera Operators