Pan-African Film Festival Kicks Off in Burkina Faso

The 27th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) kicked off in Burkina Faso on Saturday with a grand ceremony. The festival that was earlier scheduled for February was postponed due to COVID-19.

According to Associated Press, the event kicked off on Saturday in Burkina Faso amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing jihadi insurgency in the West African nation that has killed thousands of people and displaced more than 1 million in recent years.

Alex Moussa Sawadogo, head of the Pan-African Film and TV Festival of Ouagadougou said organizers wanted to go ahead with the event known by its French acronym, FESPACO despite the challenges to show Burkina Faso can still “inspire imagination through cinema.”

“This event will be a FESPACO of resistance because it is taking place under harsh security and health conditions.” This was told to Associated Press in an interview in the capital, Ouagadougou.

The weeklong festival showcases works by African filmmakers and works produced on the continent. Out of nearly 1,200 films submitted, 282 have been selected to compete, some of which have already been shown at places like Cannes and the Toronto Film Festival.

According to Reuters, the 2021 edition will see the participation of the African International Film & TV Market organisation in a dedicated platform aimed at connecting international buyers and outlets with sellers of African contents, promoting transactions and proposing new business models for the sector.

Over 200 films made by Africans and predominantly produced in Africa have been selected from around 1,132 productions for the week-long event. Seventy films divided into six categories including feature films, short films, documentaries, animated films, and school productions are in the official competition.

In the feature films category, 17 are competing, including Nigerian drama “Eyimofe (This Is My Desire),” by twin brothers Arie Esiri and Chuko Esiri, which has received positive reviews and won the 2021 Best Feature Narrative in the Philadelphia BlackStar Film Festival.

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

The festival will continue until 23rd October, with the award of the prestigious Stallion of Yennenga prize for the best film.

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