Fespaco 2021, the new challenge for “African cinemas and


Among the 1,132 registered films, 239 films from 50 countries were selected for the major African film festival, which will take place on October 16-23 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The official selection of Fespaco 2021 was announced on Thursday 9 September in the morning at Ciné Burkina in the capital of Burkinabe and was broadcast live on Facebook.

Alex Moussa Sawadogo, presented as the man “who has not slept since he was appointed head of Fespaco”, the largest film festival in Africa, promises a renewed and diversified festival for the 27th edition. “Cinemas from Africa and the diaspora. New perspectives, new challenges “is the leitmotif of this” exceptional from every point of view “edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco), with a president of the prestigious jury, the Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako, assisted by the French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop, jury member.

“The vitality of the seventh art on the African continent” Originally planned for February, it was postponed until October, after the health crisis linked to Covid-19. Facing the security and health problems in Burkina Faso, Élise Foniyama Ilboudo Thiombiano, Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism in Burkina Faso, confirmed: “The government will take all health and safety measures to make Fespaco work smoothly.” For her, the record nomination for 1132 films “testifies to the vitality of the seventh art on the African continent”.

“Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Big Comeback” In the feature film category, the royal episode of the competition, Alex Moussa Sawadogo welcomed “Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Big Return”, with the new film by the Chadian director, Lingui. Egypt will be the only country with two competition films, including Souad, by Ayten Amin and Feathers, by Omar El Zohairy. Angola is also fighting over the stallion in Yennenga with Air conditioner, from Fradique and Mario Bastos. The host country will be represented by director Boubacar Diallo with Les trois Lascars.

The presence of maximum African countries at the largest cultural event on the continent seems to be one of the common threads in this edition. Among the 17 films selected in the feature film category, 16 nationalities are represented, including countries that are almost unknown on the world cinema map, such as Lesotho with This is not a funeral, it is a resurrection, by Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, Somalia with The engraver’s wife, by Ahmed Khadar, or Namibian director Desiree Kahikopo-Meiffret with The White Line.

Senegal, land of honor for the 27th Fespaco Senegal, land of honor for this 27th edition, will mark the spirits of the spectators with Nafi’s father, directed by Mamadou Dia. But the neighboring country will also have the honor of a statue of the director Alain Gomis, double winner of the Yennenga Gold Standard, erected on the same avenue des cinéastes where the sculpture of the legendary Sembne Ousmane already stands.

With 239 films selected from a dozen programs (feature films, feature films, a new Burkina section “to show the dynamics of the film industry in our country”, a perspective section “for the rising generation”, Panorama … and even a section for children, Sukabe, without forgetting the classic animation section with 31 films about 86 years of African animated film), Fespaco does not content itself with being the exhibition for African film, but aims to be a bridge between generations and a driving force behind the cinema of the future.

The selection committee, equal and diversified This extremely diverse selection is also a reflection of a reorganization of the selection committee. With seven members, including three women, it is not far from parity to integrate specialists in African film, but also producers, filmmakers, researchers and a curator. A team from seven African countries: Pedro Pimenta (Mozambique), Djia Mambu (DRC), Thierno Ibrahima Dia (Senegal), Katarina Hedrén (Ethiopia), Lina Chabanne (Tunisia), Boubacar Sangaré (Burkina Faso), Guy Désiré Yaméogo (Burkina) ) Faso), Laza Razajanatovo (Madagascar).

Who is Alex Moussa Sawadogo? But the biggest paradigm shift is the new CEO of Fespaco, Alex Moussa Sawadogo. He holds a master’s degree in art history from the University of Ouagadougou and a professional master’s degree in culture and media management obtained in Hamburg, Germany, commuted between Burkina Faso and Germany and was a director’s program and jury member at many festivals, from Switzerland to Israel and South Korea, to the documentary meetings in Koudougou, Burkina.

Born in 1974 in Grand-Bassam, Ivory Coast, this father of two and great film lover made a name for himself, above all by creating the Berlin African Film Festival in 2007. Since then, Sawadogo has worked in African Camera as an artistic director. With his appointment in October 2020 at the helm of Fespaco, he has really changed category, and maybe the festival as well.

► 27th Fespaco, from 16 to 23 October

The list of 17 feature films in competition at Fespaco 2021:

Air conditioning, by Mario Bastos (Angola)

Baamum Nafi, from Mamadou Dia (Senegal)

Bendskins (Moto Taxi), by Narcise Wandji (Cameroon)

Eyimofe (This is My Wish), by Chuko Esiri (Nigeria)

Farewell Cupid, by Ekwa Msangi (Tanzania)

Feathers, by Omar El Zohainy (Egypt)

Freda, by Gessica Geneus (Haiti)

The Gravedigger’s Wife, by Ahmed Khadar (Somalia)

Night of the Kings, by Philippe Lacôte (Ivory Coast)

The Three Lascars, Boubakar Diallo (Burkina Faso)

Lingui, the Holy Bands, by Haroun Mahamat-Saleh (Chad)

Nameless (The Anonymous), by Wa Nkunda Mutiganda (Rwanda)

Oliver Black, from Tawfik Baba (Morocco)

Souad, by Amin Ayten (Egypt)

The White Line, by Desireee Kahikopo-Meiffret (Namibia)

This is not a funeral, this is a resurrection, by Jeremiah Lemohang Mosese (Lesotho)

A story of love and lust, by Leyla Bouzid (Tunisia)


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