According to organisers, the 2021 edition of FESPACO, Africa’s top cinema and television festival will have seventeen films competing for the top prize. The Ouagadougou Pan African Film and Television Festival runs in Burkina Faso’s capital from October 16 to 23.
The event was supposed to take place from February 27 to March 6; however, it was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. Seventeen feature-length films have been chosen, from 1,132 submissions for the festival’s main category, competing for the Golden Stallion of Yennenga for best film.
The festival’s director, Alex Moussa Sawadogo, stated at a presentation ceremony that this year’s event is a “challenge to show that, despite the health situation, the continent continues to create, to dream, and is able to combat the ills that sap our societies.”
The directors of the 17 films hail from 15 countries across Africa. Although just one is from Burkina Faso, the host country. While Egypt has two contenders, Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, and Tunisia, all have one each. The 17th is from Haiti, reflecting this year’s theme of “Cinemas of Africa and the Diaspora.”
On October 23, an international jury led by Mauritanian producer Abderrahmane Sissako, who won France’s prestigious Cesar in 2015 for “Timbuktu,” will select the winner. The internationally renowned festival, which began in 1969, is keenly watched by the US and European film industry, scouting the event for new films, talent, and ideas. According to the competition’s regulations, the films must be made by Africans and primarily produced in Africa. In addition, the government has committed to protecting festivalgoers in whatever way is feasible.
For the past six years, Burkina Faso has been battered by jihadist attacks from the neighbouring country Mali, the epicentre of a brutal conflict that began in 2012 and has spread to Niger.