Pan-African film festival opens in Burkina Faso amid COVID19 and security challenges

OUAGADOUGOU, October 17 (Reuters) – Africa’s first film festival opened in Burkina Faso on Saturday with a colorful ceremony featuring acrobatic and musical choreography and numbers by some of the continent’s biggest names, including Senegalese Grammy nominee Baaba Maal.

Against the backdrop of attacks by Islamic militants in the West African country of the Sahel and the coronavirus pandemic, the lavish ceremony saw a tribute to the country’s military and the former president and revolutionary leader Thomas Sankara.

The festival was originally scheduled for February, but was postponed as Burkina Faso battled an increase in coronavirus cases.

“It was important to postpone the festival,” said Alex Moussa Sawadogo, general delegate of the festival, during the opening ceremony, saying that it would not have been possible to obtain the quality of the selected films if he had taken place in February.

Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Kaboré, in a message posted on Twitter, said it was with pride that he delivered the opening clap of the 27th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO).

“The holding of this biennial of African cinema, in a double context of security and health issues, testifies to the resilience and altruism of the Burkinabè people”, declared Kabore.

FESPACO, launched in 1969, is watched by global industry players who seek out the event in search of new films, productions, talent and ideas.

The 2021 edition will see the participation of the African International Film & TV Market organization in a dedicated platform aimed at connecting international buyers and outlets with African content sellers, promoting transactions and proposing new business models for the area.

More than 200 films directed by Africans and produced mainly in Africa were selected from around 1,132 productions for the week-long event.

Seventy films divided into six categories comprising feature films, short films, documentaries, animated films and school productions are in official competition.

In the feature films category, 17 are in competition, including the Nigerian drama “Eyimofe (This is My Desire)” by twin brothers Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri, which received positive reviews and won the award for best narrative feature film 2021 at the Philadelphia BlackStar Film Festival. .

Other feature films include “Bendskins” by Narcise Wandji from Cameroon; the “Baamum Nafi” by Mamadou Dia from Senegal; “The White Line” by Desiree Kahipoko-Meiffret from Namibia; and “Les Trois Lascars” from Burkina Faso by Boubakar Diallo.

The festival ends on October 23 with the presentation of the prestigious Stallion of Yennenga award for best film.

Report by Anne Mimault in Ouagadougou; Written by Bate Felix; Editing by Leslie Adler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Darcy J. Skinner

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