Fespaco concluded with the gold Etalon de Yennenga prize being awarded to Ethiopian director Haile Gerima's Teza. The jury's choice will meet with wide approval among festival-goers. But many are less impressed with the logistics of Africa's leading film festival.
The film Teza presents the story of a highly educated Ethiopian who returns home from Germany after Mengistu takes power. Director Haile Gerima says it speaks to his own alienation. The film was well received by audiences in Ouagadougou.
The last competition screenings at Fespaco brought us Amor Hakkar’s La maison jaune and Shemu Joyah’s Seasons of a life both tell stories – one very simple and the other less so - about parents and their children.
Eric Kabera's documentary, Behind the Roadblock, looks back at the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It takes a striking approach to piecing together what happened during one particular killing.
Not all films at Fespaco are in competition. Two documentaries deal with natural resources: new director Nadege Batou's Ku nkelo, à la recherche de l’eau, about water in Congo Brazzaville, and Thierry Michel's Katanga Business, shot iin the DRC.
Two expatriate Africans brought their films from Paris to screen them in Ouagadougou. C'est ça la France and La tombe d'un rêve take a dark look at the prospect of moving from Africa to the French capital.
Kenyan director Judy Kibinge brought her short film, Killer Necklace, to Fespaco and impressed audiences with a tale from a Nairobi slum.
Two films set in South Africa showed early in the week, Triomf and When we were black. They both set personal stories against the backdrop of important events in South Africa's history.
After the festival's opening ceremonies wrapped up, the focus moved to the films and fimmakers. Attention turned first of all to the late Senegalese director Sembène Ousmane, who was being remembered at Fespaco 2009.
While visiting the festival, France’s Junior Minister for Cooperation and the Francophonie, Alain Joyandet, announced the creation of an investment fund dedicated to African cinema. The fund is to be worth at least 10 million euros.
The Panafrican Film & Television Festival - Fespaco - opened on Saturday 28 February 2009. The first part of the festival to open its doors was the Mica - the section dedicated to cinema professionals from all over Africa.
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