The 23rd edition of the Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) has opened its doors on Saturday at the Stadium of 4 August with about 20 000 film lovers watching from the stands.
Nigerian music band Flavour brought the stadium down on its knees, and 200 dancers and musicians from Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali performed a superb dance act choreographed by Burkina Faso dance genius Seydou Boro.
A total of 101 films are set to be screened at the highly-publicised African movie event, which takes place every two years in the capital city of this West African nation.
Gabon has been made guest of honour at this year’s festival, in recognition of a country that is celebrating 50 years of its classic cinema.
The following eight Gabonese classic films have been chosen to be screened for this occasion:
- The Cage (1962) with Robert Darene Philippe Mory
- The drums are silent (1971) by Philippe Mory
- Obali (1976) and Ayouma (1977) by Pierre Marie and Charles Mensah Dong
- Ilombe (1978) by Charles Mensah
- Tomorrow, a new day (1978) by Pierre Marie Dong
- Dole (1999) of Imunga Ivanga
- Balls of the Elephant (2000) by Henri Joseph Koumba Bididi
In total, Gabon will see 13 of its films screened at this year’s FESPACO, including the current five, one of which is hoping to clinch the top prize of Yenenga’s Golden Stallion, known by its French name as l’Etalon d’Or de Yenenga.
This year’s festival has also been dedicated to women, the organisers said, adding that all the presidents of the panels of adjudicators will be female.
In the attendance yesterday, were Chantal Compaoré and Sylvia Bongo Odimba, the wives of Burkina Faso and Gabon heads of state, respectively.
FESPACO 2013, which is themed African Cinema and Public Policy in Africa, will end on 2 March 2013 when the winner of Golden Stallion top prize will be announced.
Past winners of Yenenga’s Golden Stallion include South Africa’s Zola Maseko for Drum (2005), Morocco’s Mohamed Mouftakir for Pégase,
Nigeria’s Newton Aduaka in 2007 with Ezra, a film for child soldiers, and Ethiopia’s Haile Gerima for Teza in 2009.
The twenty films vying for this year’s festival top prize include North Africa’s seven films and West Africa’s six, while South Africa has one, How to steal two million, by Charlie Vundla.
*Photo by afp.com/Ahmed Ouaba. Opening of the 23rd edition of FESPACO in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.