Everything is Written

The documentary, filmed in February 2018 in Mali, between the ancient city of Timbuktu and Bamako, testifies the special relationship between Malian people and the World Heritage endangered by fundamentalism. The ancient manuscripts, hundreds of thousands books, who survived for centuries in the libraries of Timbuktu, have been brought out of Timbuktu with donkeys and pirogues to Bamako, a thousands kilometres south, to save them from destruction.


Marco Pavan

Italy, 2018 - 23', original version in Italiand and French with English subtitles

Watch the documentary

Even in a difficult and unstable time, people of Timbuktu keep defending their manuscripts and the cultural heritage of the city. Six years after the armed intervention of French military against Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, that occupied northern Mali in 2012, this written treasure is once again in the hands of the people of Timbuktu. Like those of professor Hamou and Boubakar, the last calligrapher of the city.

Everything is written is also the story of the life of a city where UN and French army guarantee some provisional security, jeopardized by the jihadists and drug traffickers who control the desert.

In the latest images of the documentary by Marco Pavan, a beacon of hope has lit up the city, the Festival au Desert returned to the city after six years of exile due to the conflict with the jihadists.

Director's notes

The documentary “Everything is written”, produced by Fabrica for Imago Mundi, was made in February 2018 as part of “Sahara. What is written will remain”, the inaugural exhibition of the Gallerie delle Prigioni in Treviso, which had as its theme the value of the written and spoken word, as a sign of memory and identity.

The documentary aims to reflect on the importance of safeguarding cultural heritage and how this is a source of pride for those who feel it is a fundamental part of their culture. In a country where a large part of the population lives below the poverty line and under the constant threat of Islamic fundamentalism, there are people who, at the risk of their lives, do everything to save the foundations of their culture.

Timbuktu, a mythical city in the eyes of Europeans, is in this case the symbol of the fight against ignorance, the last oasis before the desert. And it also turns out that Africa has a profound written culture, dating back to a time when books were precious material and a source of wealth for the families who owned them. Even today, that pride re-emerges in the words and gestures of those who jealously guard this precious treasure of humanity.


In December 2018, “Everything is written” won the 36th edition of the Bellaria Film Festival. The jury, chaired by Moni Ovadia, awarded the documentary “for the expressive power and linguistic maturity with which it showed fundamental and unspoken aspects of Islamic thought such as culture, beauty and responsibility towards the great heritage of knowledge” .


Direction and Editing
Marco Pavan

Fabrica for Imago Mundi

Andrea de Georgio

Voice Over with Maria Roveran

Alberto Martino

Sound Design and Mixing
Giovanni Bottan

Art Direction
Marcello Piccinini

Copy Editing
Chiara Longhi, Giorgia de Luca

With, in order of appearence
Mahamane Mahamodou Hamou, El Boukhari Ben Essayouti, Alpha Ben Essayouti, Najim Boubacar Sadek, Aliou Haidara, Baba Moulay Bashir, Abdel Kader Haidara, Boubacar Diallo, Vieux Farka Touré

Thanks to
Centre Ahmed Baba and director Abdoulkadri Drissa Maiga, Savama DCI, Minusma and Riccardo Maia, Bibliotheque Al-Imam Essayouti, Festival du Vivre Ensemble and Festival au Desert, Luciano Benetton, Enrico Bossan, Carlo Tunioli



Marco Pavan

Italy, 2018 - 23', original version in Italiand and French with English subtitles

Watch the documentary