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FESPACO Call for the implementation of the African Film and Audiovisual Fund

The start of the 26th edition of the Panafrican Festival of Cinema and Television of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), which coincides with its fiftieth anniversary, was given on Saturday, February 23, 2019 by Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré under the theme “Memories and Future of African cinema “. On occasion, the issue of financing the 7th art made in Africa has been rested.

By Ibrahima SANOU in Ouagadougou

The fiftieth anniversary edition of FESPACO records 124 films in all categories, 48 ​​feature films (feature and short films), 36 documentaries (long and short), 16 films from African film and audiovisual schools, 12 series TV and 12 animated films. For the Yennenga Gold Standard, there are 20 feature films that are in competition. During a week in the capital of Burkina Faso, more than 100 thousand moviegoers are expected and 450 screenings are planned in nine rooms with more than 3800 seats. According to the Burkina Faso Minister of Culture Abdoul Karim Sango, the fiftieth anniversary of Fespaco offers the opportunity to take a retrospective look at its evolution, which has had its beginnings and even the temptations of its space as exchange and platform dedicated to cinema professionals. He wished that the reflections during the present edition relate to the multi media environment, the digital switchover, the effectiveness of taking into account of the video and the television, the rehabilitation of the cinemas, the aspects related to the co-production, diffusion and market of the image as well as issues related to the training of actors.

50 years of Fespaco, it is a glorious and ambitious race

The fiftieth anniversary obliges Burkina Faso’s Minister of Culture Abdoul Karim Sango to pay a fitting tribute to the pioneers and great figures of African cinema and the diaspora for having held the torch of Fespaco high. “Through your individual and collective commitment, you have made Fespaco, the voice of African cinema in the world. 50 years of the Fespaco, it is a glorious and ambitious race, it is the epic of the black people through the screens of the whole world “. Among the pioneers of Fespaco, is Alimata Salambere who was the president of the organizing committee of the first edition of the Festival which took place from 1 to 15 February 1969 under the patronage of the then President of the Republic of Volta, The late General Aboubacar Sangoule Lamizana. Alimata Salambere recalled that the initiative of Fespaco returns to the French Claude Prieux who was the director of the Franco-Voltaic cultural center at the time. “The strong support of the authorities and executives of the time as well as the enthusiasm of the public sealed the sustainability of this event that was immediately given a pan-African dimension.” However after 50 years of existence, Alimata Salambéré believes that Fespaco is at the crossroads and its maintenance at the head of the African Festivals, implies that the actors explore additional sources of funding such as the private sector, sub-regional organizations , regional, continental and international in order to increase its resources and thus its entrepreneurial capacity to develop further.

Soon an African Fund for Cinema and Audiovisual

Panafrican Festival, the fiftieth anniversary of Fespaco records the presence of the chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat who recalled that the last summit of the Pan-African organization created the African Audiovisual and Cinema Commission. “This must without delay, tackle the implementation of the African Fund for Cinema and Audiovisual. I urge the member states of our union to sign and ratify the status of this commission as soon as possible “. The commission, once operational, will amplify the action of the African Union in favor of African cinema. The opening ceremony of the 26th edition recorded the presence of the ministers of culture of Mali, Ivory Coast, Algeria and Cameroon. The guest of honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Fespaco Rwanda is present at the biennial with a delegation including film artists as well as artists and musicians of traditional dance. For Rwandan ambassador Stanislas Kamanzi, in this era where African leaders have been involved in finalizing the challenge of African integration, Fespaco is the best framework to carry shared African identity as it brings together filmmakers, artists and musicians from around the world and from across the continent and beyond to share their rich and varied works. “Our participation in Fespaco is an opportunity for us to gain experience but also we will offer the best we have.”

Par Ibrahima SANOU à Ouagadougou