Press Releases

Kick-off of the 26th Edition of the Pan-African film and television festival in Ouagadougou

25 Feb, 2019
Le président du Faso donnant le coup du Fespaco 2019

Ouagadougou, 24 February 2019. Burkina Faso’s Head of State, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, officially launched the 26th edition and celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ouagadougou Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO) on Saturday 23 February 2019, before thousands of spectators at the municipal stadium in the Burkinabè capital.

“We have made a pledge to move to the next level because 50 years is the age of maturity,” stated the President of Faso at the end of the ceremony.

He urged movie lovers to go and watch the 160 films in competition to ensure the success of FESPACO 2019, noting that all necessary security measures have been taken to that effect.

Roch Marc Christian Kaboré lauded the establishment by the African Union (AU) of the African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission, which will soon contribute, he indicated, to the funding of African cinema and promotion of the 7th art.

The announcement of the establishment of the Commission was made at the opening ceremony of FESPACO by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Several Burkinabe and international artists performed during the colourful opening ceremony. The event began with the traditional women horse-riding parade, a reference to Yennenga, the warrior princess founder of the Mossi kingdom. Her name was given to the FESPACO award, which is the Golden Stallion of Yennenga.

Film directors and professionals, as well as ballet dancers from Rwanda performed at the event. The country was the guest of honour at this year’s edition.

Prof Leopoldo Amodo (with tie ) and Moussa Faki Mahamat, (2nd from left)

As well as Rwanda, other countries and organisations are also present at the event. One of these is the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The West African organisation, a key partner of FESPACO since 1993, will award two prizes to deserving filmmakers at this edition. The first award “Special Prize for Best Film on West African Integration” will be worth US$30,000.

It will be awarded to a film directed by a filmmaker from the Community, and produced in West Africa. The film is expected to focus on regional integration and highlight the creativity of Community citizens.

The second award is the “Special Prize for Best Female Director”. The award, worth US$20,000, aims to acknowledge and promote the contribution of West African women to the region’s development. The two awards will come with two trophies and two plaques.

In selecting the best entries for award, ECOWAS will set up a 5-member jury, drawn from five Member States, while taking into account the gender dimension.

The ECOWAS Special Awards will be presented by the President of the regional organisation, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, on 2 March 2019, during the official closing ceremony of the 26th edition of FESPACO, under the patronage of Burkina’s Head of State, Rock Marc Christian Kaboré.

The most prestigious award of FESPACO, the “Étalon de Yennenga” (Stallion of Yennenga), will also be given at the ceremony, named in reference to the founding myth of the Mossi Empire.

As well as the European Union and African Union Awards, ECOWAS Awards are the only ones to be given on the day of the presentation of the “Étalon de Yennenga”. The Special Awards from other partners are presented the day before the closing ceremony.

Aside from the presentation of Special Awards, ECOWAS will also take part in professional discussions on current affairs or cultural development issues in West Africa.

It will also host a stand decorated in its colours. The stand will be used to raise public awareness through presentations on the organisation’s history, objectives, institutions and specialised agencies, fundamental principles, achievements, projects and programmes, and Vision 2020, including the major challenges and prospects.

Visitors at FESPACO will equally be given educational and information materials on ECOWAS, and will take part in question-and-answer quizzes featuring prizes that include advertising gadgets on the regional organisation.

It should be noted that the ECOWAS delegation at the opening ceremony of the 26th edition and 50th anniversary of FESPACO is led by the regional organisation’s Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Prof Leopoldo Amado, accompanied by his Executive Assistant, Maika Luis Silva Monteiro.

It also comprises the ECOWAS Resident Representative to Burkina Faso, Mohamed Diakité, the ECOWAS Director of Education, Science and Culture, Prof Abdoulaye Maga, the Head of Culture Division, Dr Emile Zida, and the Acting Director of Communication, Liberor Doscof Aho.

Member States