The 27th edition of FESPACO begins: African International Film Festival Jury and ECOWAS delegation at work for the event’s success
Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), 17 October 2021. H.E Roch Marc Christian Kabore, President of Faso, was at the Ouaga 2000 sports complex on Saturday 16 October 2021 to kick-off the 27th edition of the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco). In attend-ance were H.E Abdoulaye Diop, Minister for Culture and Communication of Senegal (country guest of honour), ECOWAS Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Dr Mamadu Jao, representing the ECOWAS Commission President, H.E Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, and numerous professionals of the 7th art from Africa and around the world.
A biennial cultural event, this year’s edition is themed “Films of Africa and the Diaspora: new perspectives, new challenges”, and will go on till Saturday 23 October 2021. It will feature the participation and involvement of several partners including the ECOWAS Commission, scheduled to give four special awards valued at a total of about 60,000 US dollars.
The opening of the 27th FESPACO was very colourful and festive with presentations by several artists including very talented dancers and acrobats, and the highly acclaimed Senegalese singer Baba Mal.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Burkina Faso’s Minister for Culture, Arts and Tourism, Elise Ilboudo/Thiombiano expressed the view that this edition presented “converging lines for Afri-can film and talent”. After paying homage to the Defence and Security Forces (DSF) and ac-knowledging the work accomplished by her predecessors who had worked to promote Fespa-co, the culture minister urged the different stakeholders of the film industry to avail them-selves of this opportunity to contemplate the future of the African film.
On the sidelines of the festival’s opening ceremony, Commissioner Mamadu Jao met with the ECOWAS Jury on Sunday 17 October 2021 alongside ECOWAS Resident Representative in Burkina, Mr Tiena Coulibaly. The Jury is made up of five members, including two women, from the three language zones of ECOWAS. Commissioner Jao congratulated the jury mem-bers on their appointment and wished them a very successful mission while thanking them, on behalf of the ECOWAS Commission President, for being available.
During the contact session with the jury members, Commissioner Jao presented the guidelines and selection criteria for winners of the ECOWAS award. He underscored the need for transpar-ency and objectiveness in the conduct of the mission. The ECOWAS Commissioner for Culture further invited the jury members to join him, on Monday 18 October 2021, for a visit to the ECOWAS stand at Fespaco and discussions with officials, journalists and visitors.
At a press briefing convened by Burkina Faso’s Health Minister, Prof Charlemagne Ouedraogo, the Burkinabe authorities endeavoured to reassure the public on measures put in place at the 15 venues to guarantee a pleasant stay for all visitors. This was in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. The measures include the use of face masks, use of alcohol-based sanitizers, tem-perature checks, social distancing, voluntary and free vaccination. The health minister further called for strict observance of the measures in order to shine a positive light on this great meet-ing of pan African film industry.
For the 27th edition, out of 1,132, only 239 films from 50 African countries and the diaspora were selected by an international selection committee made up of eight film and audio-visual professionals including three women. Seventeen of the selected films, from 15 countries, have been nominated for the Etalon de Yennenga award.