African cinema: start of the 27th Fespaco, “upright” despite the crisis in Burkina

(AFP) – The 27th edition of the largest African film festival, Fespaco, was launched on Saturday in Ouagadougou during an opening ceremony combining shows and official speeches, AFP noted.

The ceremony, chaired by the Head of State of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, brought together 2,000 to 3,000 people at the Palais des sports in the Ouaga 2000 district, including many African delegations, including that of Senegal, invited to attend. honor of this 27th edition, led by the Minister of Culture Abdoulaye Diop.

The festival opened in the capital of a country plagued by jihadist violence since 2015 which has left around 2,000 dead and 1.4 million displaced.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also resulted in an eight-month postponement of this 7th art meeting which has helped to make known the greatest African directors, served as a springboard for young talents and crowned in 2019 the Rwandan director, Joël Karekezi , for a film shot in the Kivu jungle in Congo.

The Burkinabe Minister of Culture, Elise Thiombiano, welcomed the fact that Fespaco could take place in such a context, stating in particular that “in the face of the unprecedented security crisis, we remain standing”.

She also paid tribute to the former president and “father of the Burkinabè revolution” Thomas Sankara, assassinated at the age of 37 after four years in power, during a coup d’état on October 15, 1987. Thirty-four years later, the trial of his alleged killers opened on Monday before the Ouagadougou military court before being suspended for two weeks.

A photo of the face of Thomas Snkara, who has become a Pan-African icon, was projected on a giant screen during the ceremony, when Senegalese music star Didier Awadi and Burkinabè rapper Smoookey performed a song in his honor.

The opening show – dances, acrobatics and songs by Burkina Faso stars – was staged by Burkinabè choreographer Serge Aimé Coulibaly.

Until the announcement of the winners on October 23, the film screenings will take place in the various theaters of Ouagadougou, but screenings will also take place in ten outdoor spaces.

At the end of the ceremony, President Kaboré announced that his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall would attend the closing of the festival, whose theme this year is: “Cinemas from Africa and the Diaspora: new perspectives, new challenges”.

Out of 1,132 films registered, 17 feature films were selected for the official competition and are in the running for the Yénnenga Gold Standard, Fespaco’s supreme award. The directors came from 15 countries on the continent.

The jury of the 27th edition is chaired by the Mauritanian director and producer Abderrahmane Sissako, César for best film 2015 for “Timbuktu”.