African Oscars: Fescapo Film Festival in Burkina Faso
Even as cinemas close down across Africa, filmmakers continue to innovate. This year's Fescapo festival (Africa's largest) honored homegrown films with the continent's equivalent of the Academy Awards.
Each of the movies mentioned below look good: ironically, even as films get more difficult to distribute, digital shooting and editing put storytelling tools into the hands of more and more filmmakers in a part of the world where shipping dailies back and forth is just not an option.
Judges praised the film, 14 years in the making, for its strength, depth and poetry conveying the dashed hopes of a returning intellectual elite. Stunning village vistas and shoulder-dancing amid ululations in bars capture an expressive, vital Ethiopian culture.
"The message of the film is peace," Selome Gerima, associate producer of the film and sister of the United States-based, Ethiopian-born director, told Reuters while beaming and clutching her Etalon d'Or de Yennenga (Golden Stallion of Yennenga), Africa's equivalent of an Oscar.
South Africa's Nothing but the Truth, by John Kani, nabbed second prize. Adapted from a play, Kani's movie chronicles a librarian's experiences with racism before and after the apartheid era.
The Bronze Stallion was handed to Algeria's Mascarades (Masquerades) — a comedy about a boy who creates an imaginary suitor for his narcoleptic sister.
Distribution woes have taken the spotlight at this year's festival. As increasing numbers of cinema halls close down, African films are squeezed out by Hollywood action blockbusters and Bollywood musicals.
More directors are turning to mass-market digital movies such as the $450-million market in Nigeria.