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FESPACO@50: AFRICA’S BIGGEST FILM FESTIVAL COMES OF AGE

Entertainment News

Fespaco, an acronym in French for “Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou”, is an eight-day event held every two years. This year Fespaco makes a big return as it turns 50. The festival opened on February 23 and will close on March 2 in Ouagadougou.

Fespaco, an acronym in French for “Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou”, is an eight-day event held every two years. This year Fespaco makes a big return as it turns 50. The festival opened on February 23 and will close on March 2 in Ouagadougou.

The event showcases films and filmed material from the media and advertising industries. Roughly a hundred thousand people are expected to attend 450 screenings over the week in the Burkinabè capital.

The Ghanaian feature film Keteke, directed by Peter Sedufia, is one of two movies opening at this year’s edition.

Top prize

Ghana is making a return to Fespaco after a hiatus of a decade, and is doing so in grand style, as Keteke has been nominated for the Étalon d’or de Yennenga (the “Golden Stallion of Yennenga”), the honour for overall best film at the festival.

Keteke is competing with 20 other films from 16 African countries for the $20,000 prize money.

Since Fespaco began half a century ago, no woman has ever won the Étalon de Yennenga. One of the favourites this year, however, is Rafiki by Kenya’s Wanuri Kahiu, about a lesbian affair.

It was banned temporarily in her home country but got shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

Another leading contender for the prize, to be announced on Saturday, is Desrances, by the Burkinabè director Apolline Traoré, about post-election violence in Côte d’Ivoire in 2010-11.

Screen binge

For film lovers, the main challenge may be to make it to all the viewings, as there are at least 60 films screening every day from 8am until late every evening. Some venues are showing more than one festival film at the same time.

There are screenings at nine venues across Ouagadougou and also in two of Burkina Faso’s other big cities, Bobo Dioulasso and Ouahigouya.

“Film-makers of Africa, we love you,” declared Yacouba Traoré, chief organiser of the festival, at Saturday night’s opening ceremony at Ouagadougou’s municipal stadium.