The film Tey (meaning Today in Wolof language), a five-star piece of art made by France-based Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis, has won l’Etalon d’Or de Yennenga (Golden Stallion of Yennenga) at the 23rd edition of the Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou.
It was the first time for the West African nation of Senegal to win the cinema’s continental prestigious award which was being contested by eight African films, but which analysts punted Gomis to win.
From his luxury hotel located on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue where he spent his Burkina Faso trip, Gomis told Dakar-based Le Soleil newspaper after the win: “There is so much going on, and at the same time I can’t imagine what is happening to me. I am very proud and happy, and I think especially to all those who worked on this film, and who gave their energy and heart to make this dream come true.
“The Golden Stallion of Yennenga is not for myself. It’s the culmination of a long history, with people who, for years, have been working in the shadows of the Senegalese cinema.
“A cinema many thought was crumbling. I also think of all young people who are struggling to make movies. This award is not an end but a beginning that should be used to get the Senegalese cinema back on track. If you just put it somewhere at home, behind a window to contemplate, it is not worth it (laughs).
Gomis, who has three origins, Guinea-Bissau, France and Senegal, was praised by the judges for the cinematic grace of his film Tey.
Tey is a film about the relationship between the living and the dead.
Other prizewinners include:
- Yema: by Algerian Djamila Sahraoui, Silver Stallion. The film about a mother fighting the sad fate of her family, evoking the Islamists’ effect on her country.
- La Pirogue (The Dugout) by Senegalese Moussa Touré, Bronze Stallion. The film about a group of would-be immigrants who are lost in the sea trying to enter Europe.
- Mariam Ouédraogo, from Burkina Faso, prize of best actress for her role in Burkina Faso’s Apolline Traoré’s Moi Zaphira.
- Por aqui tudo bem (All is well in Portuguese) by Angolan Pocas Pascoal, Prize of the European Union. The film about two sisters who flee civil war and arrive in Lisbon in 1980.
- Les Enfants de Troumaron (The Children of Troumaron) by Mauritius’s Harriksrina and Shavan Anenden. A film about four unemployed youths in the capital Port-Louis.
- Saul Williams, the lead actor in Tey, was rewarded with the best male lead.
*Photo: The Golden Stallion of Yennenga, Fespaco top prize.