They Will Have to Kill Us First, Director Johanna Schwartz

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In the gripping documentary They Will Have To Kill Us First, we see the impact on music and musician when Islamic hardliners took control of northern Mali in 2012, they enforced one of the harshest interpretations of sharia law in history and, crucially for Mali, they banned all forms of music. Radio stations were destroyed, instruments burned and Mali’s musicians faced torture, even death. Overnight, Mali’s revered musicians were forced into hiding or exile where most remain even now. But rather than lay down their instruments, the musicians are fighting back, standing up for their cultural heritage and identity. Through everything, they have used music as their weapon against the on-going violence that has left Mali ravaged. The situation in Mali forms part of an alarming trend: across the globe, extremists are attacking culture, art and freedom with increasing frequency and violence. They use religion to justify rampant destruction and murder. They Will Have To Kill Us First director Johanna Schwatz joins us to talk about human side of Mali’s conflict and the destructive impact it has had on Mali’s political, social and musical communities.

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Screenings for Southern California

Los Angeles – Laemmle Monica Film Center –April 1st

Irvine, California – Regal Theatre

“Social journalism of the highest order, They Will Have to Kill Us First is by turns horrific and front-loaded with sonic heroism.” – Marc Savlov, Austin Chronicle

“Delivers a vibrant testimony of resilience under oppression.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

“Beautiful music and a good introduction to the complexity of Malian/Tuareg politics.” – Louis Proyect,

“A profile in courage but also groove” – Alan Sherstuhl, Village Voice

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