The Destruction of Memory

: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: In Distribution


The war on culture, and the battle to save it.


Over the past century, cultural destruction – the purposeful destruction of buildings, books and art in order to erase collective memory and identity - has wrought catastrophic results on every continent. But the war is by no means over. If anything, this kind of cultural warfare has been steadily increasing.

The film looks at how and why this has happened, and how the push to protect, salvage and rebuild has moved in step with the destruction. People willingly risk their lives to protect not just other human beings, but their culture - to safeguard the record of who they are. People who never thought of themselves as heroes have fought back, and it's these people and their resistance that is at the heart of the story.


The Destruction of Memory comes at a time of significant media attention, as well as policy and legislative movements around the issue of cultural destruction.

Acts of destruction in Syria, Iraq and Mali have been front page news. Key judgments will be handed down in 2016 at the ICTY re the Bosnian War on the destruction of cultural heritage. The United Nations Security Council recently unanimously passed Resolution 2199, curbing the issue of looting and heritage destruction as it relates to Syria and Iraq.

The International Criminal Court is commencing a trial in 2016 for the destruction of religious buildings in Mali. This will be the first time the ICC’s Rome Statute’s provision to protect buildings dedicated to religion will be exercised.

Importantly, this film for the first time tells the whole story – this is necessary because unless we look at this process as whole, and look at it deeply and honestly, it will continue.

Ultimately, like Bosnia’s Mostar Bridge, whose story we tell, the film’s aim is to bridge stronger connections between the people, to appeal for tolerance, and to bring understanding and recognition of this recurring phenomenon.


Tim Slade - Director

Tim's films have screened internationally in cinemas, film festivals and been broadcast in Europe, the UK, the US, Canada, South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He has directed feature and many TV hour documentaries, such as ‘4’, which was released theatrically and won a Gold HUGO, as well as receiving nominations at Banff, an International Documentary Association Award and two AFI awards. He has also directed drama, including the shorts Every Other Weekend and I Was Robert Mitchum. His films have screened at more than 70 international film festivals. 

Derek Wiesehahn - Cinematographer

Derek Wiesehahn is a New York based director of photography with over 20 years of experience in film and television. Recent documentary credits have included God Loves Uganda (Sundance 2013, Academy
Awards shortlist), the 2010 Academy Award winning documentary short film Music By Prudence and the 2013 Academy Award nominated and Sundance selected documentary feature How To Survive A Plague, as well
as a camera operating credit on the 2011 Sundance winner and Academy Award nominated documentary, Restrepo.
Derek has also shot over 100 music videos, as well as numerous commercials and promos. Narrative credits also include several feature films, shorts, which have been well received at Sundance, the Tribeca Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.


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IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2019
Screening in June 2016 in London and Paris, followed by other cities.
12 territories confirmed/being confirmed for screenings from September 2016
Current funders include the Henry Luce Foundation, broadcasters, and generous individuals
Selected for Sheffield DocFest MeetMarket
Selected for IFP Spotlight on Documentaries Week


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