24th African film festival kicks off in Ouagadougou

27 Feb, 2015

Burkina Faso’s transitional Prime Minister, Yacouba Zida Isaac, formally opened the 24th Ouagadougou Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) on Saturday afternoon, 28th February 2015 with the attendance of hundreds of film professionals of the 7th Art from Africa and beyond.

This edition of the biennial cultural event being held under the theme “African Film productions, dissemination in the digital age,” will run until Saturday, the 7th instant and embrace many partners including ECOWAS, which will once again play an active role in the event.

The West African organization has been constantly supporting FESPACO activities since 1993, but has decided to innovate this year by instituting a CFAF 10 million Prize for Best Female Director, alongside the Prize for Integration, which ECOWAS has awarded for several years, now raised to CFAF 15 million since the last edition.

The 24th FESPACO launching ceremony was held in an extremely colourful ambiance marked by a spirit of openness. It was held in a festive atmosphere featuring many artists including highly- talented ballet dancers and acrobats as well as Senegalese singer Ismaël Lô, who were heartily cheered by a huge and visibly seduced crowd.

In the opening address delivered on behalf of the Burkina Faso transitional Government, the Culture and Tourism Minister Jean-Claude Dioma said the initial misgivings regarding health and security risks hovering over the FESPACO event had dissipated thanks to the Burkinabe authorities’ and the people’s commitment to counter all challenges.

After assuring that all necessary steps had been taken to provide “a platform of valuable activities for all,” Mr Dioma laid emphasis on the theme of this edition and urged participants to explore the Digital issue with a view to “providing appropriate strategies for controlling this new technology” in the interest of Africa.

Following the welcome address by Mr Damien Gampiné, Head of Ouagadougou Municipality’s Special Delegation, the FESPACO Executive Director Ardiouma Soma, had earlier presented the week-long programme of African film celebrations, including 456 sessions in 7 screening rooms before 915 professionals, as well as two halls for special screenings.

Mr Soma also raised the issue on the film market (Mica) where 27 countries are represented for 105 productions registered, including 46 promotional stands, 14 viewing booths and 7,000 expected visitors, and where no less than the same number of twenty contracts signed during the previous edition held in 2013, is expected to be achieved.

Just like the Culture and Tourism Minister, the FESPACO Executive Director also paid tribute to Egypt, the guest of honour of the 24th edition of the Ouagadougou Pan-African Cinema and Television of Festival.

It is worth noting that, at the closing ceremony, the ECOWAS Commission President, Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, will personally present the prizes and trophies awarded by his Institution.

ECOWAS , too, has a stand decorated with its colours and intended to enhance the institution’s visibility to the public through presentations on ECOWAS’ history, objectives, management, specialized institutions and agencies, fundamental principles, achievements, projects and programmes as well as the Vision 2020, not to mention its great challenges and opportunities.

Visitors can also obtain information and outreach manuals on the Economic Community of West African States and participate in quizzes and question-answer games to win prizes including communication gadgets on ECOWAS such as caps, T-shirts, calendars, diaries, and pens.

Member States