The project Des cinémas pour l'Afrique, initiated by the Malinese-Mauretanian cineaste Abderrahmane Sissoko to restore cinemas in Africa, was officially started during the Cannes Film Festival in May 2009. The Des cinémas pour l'Afrique foundation, directed by Sissoko together with French actress Juliette Binoche, symbolically sold cinema seats during the festival for €5000 each. Festival director Gilles Jacob was one of the first buyers.
The objective of the project is to give Africans say over the fate of their cinemas, even if the money primarily comes from the North. To Juliette Binoche, the objective is "to give the continent back some of what it has given the world and the human race. And to reimburse Africans for the enormous injustices of history and the absurdity of the global economy."
The money collected by the sale of some 420 seats from the last cinema still existing in capital Bamako will be donated to a foundation in Mali. This foundation will be responsible for having the building renovated so that it can once again be used as a cinema. This not only rescues the cinema, but also creates jobs. When it reopens in December 2010, the cinema will be African in its soul. One seat will be financed with money collected from the inhabitants of Bamako. It will be symbolically named the Seat of Bamako.