Africa's Grand Film Festival

It comes as no surprise to anyone that Africa has hundreds, if not thousands, of festivals every year. Most of the festivals have a long history of celebrating local culture, historical events and religion. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, is not the one of Africa's most recognizable cities, yet every two years Ouagadougou plays host to one of Africa's most internationally, prestigious film festivals, the Pan African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO).
FESPACO was begun in 1969 by a group of international film enthusiasts who desired to promote a realistic picture of Africa and her view of the world. The festival experienced a rugged and unsure beginning, but since 1979, the festival has been a biennial event commencing on the last Saturday of February each odd numbered year.
The inaugural festival in 1969 consisted of participation of 5 countries from Africa and 2 from Europe, with 24 films including 18 from Africa and an audience of 10 thousands people. In the beginning the films selected were only from Africa. In later years it has widened its scope to include productions by filmmakers from the African Diaspora in America, Europe and the Caribbean. The 2011 edition (the 19th) welcomed more than 80 countries, 170 films, and hundreds of thousands of guests.
The Pan African Film Festival is an opportunity for African directors, producers, actors and writers to show off their own video art. It is also an excellent venue to network other cinema professionals from around the world, and learn from peers from the continent. The festival's goals are to promote African film market, publish African cinema news, screen films in rural areas, and promote African cinema in international markets.
FESPACO's objectives include promoting African cinema, fostering the distribution and broadcasting of all African film productions both inside and outside Burkina Faso, and providing a platform for the industry people to meet and share experiences.
Not many film festivals in the world take place in old, unkept cinemas, that are equipped with antiquated projectors, let alone ferry visitors around in taxis lacking door handles or brakes. All of this is part of what makes the Pan African Film Festival a unique and enchanting experience.
Due to the festival being hosted in Burkina Faso for so many years now, Ouagadougou's central square is named Place des Cineastes. Despite Ouagadougou's modest size (population just over 100,000) it has more cinemas than any town in west Africa. Many are open-air with every seat full in the heat of the Sahel night during the festival.
The Pan African Film Festival is far from the only African festival that draws participants and observers from around the world. African forums are replete with announcements of African festivals. One such forum carries an announcement for a African fashion festival in Lagos Nigeria.

No comments:

Post a Comment