FESPACO remembers film heroes
Report: Nii Laryea Korley, Ouagadougou
Courtesy Goethe Institut, Zain
WELL-KNOWN Ghanaian Filmmaker, Kwaw Ansah whose Heritage Africa Film won the ‘Etalon de Yennenga (top prize) at the 1989 edition of the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Quagadougou (FESPACO), will in the near future have his statue in the centre of he Burkina Faso capital.
It will be part of a project to pay tribute to all past winners of the Etalon de Yennenga along the road from the Place de Cineastes (Filmmakers Square) to the Ouagadougou Cathedral.
The area has been designated as the ‘Colonne des etalons’ and the late Senegalese director Sembene Ousmana, who is being remembered at the just ended 21st edition of the festival, already has his statue in place. Made by Burkinabe sculptor, Sidiki Ky, it is in bronze and was sponsored by the Ecobank Foundation in Burkina Faso.
FESPACO has held high the personalities of the past top prize winners at this festival. There were big posters of them plastered on the walls at the FESPACO secretariat and their faces could be seen again on a wall near the entrance of Cine Burkina, one of the main cinemas showing films at this festival.
This year’s festival is the first since Sembene died but the man seems to be everywhere at this 21st edition. There was an exhibition of photos on him by the swimming pool at Hotel Independence where Sembene, whose films included Emitai, Ceddo, Guelwaar, Le Camp de Thiaroye and Molaade, often stayed in Room One whenever he was at FESPACO.
Sembene, who died on June 9, 2007, was mentioned in almost all the speeches at the opening ceremony of the festival. A conference centre at Hotel Independence has been named after him and so is a 2,300 metres long street in District 15 in the Bodogodo area of Ouaga. It is now known as Sembene Ousmane Avenue.
Senegalese Minister of Culture –Papa Messene Sene was at the street naming ceremony and said Sembene wished to turn his home into a house of culture before he died and the project would be carried out “to wave the eternal torch of a man who worked his whole life for the emergence of African”
Many different things happen at FESPACO apart from the film screenings. One that many felt was somehow encouraging for African cinema was the announcement by the French Secretary of State in charge of Cooperation and Francophonie, Alain Joyandet that 10 million Euros will be set aside b y the French government to support African cinema in the next five years.
Speaking at a Canal France International (CFI)-organized press conference to mark the 20th anniversary of CFI, one of FESPACO’s main partners. Mr. Joyandent said part of the money will be to fund projects by both established and emerging talents.
Some of the funds will also support the screening of the best films at FESPACO in France. He said he personally wished that the Etalon de Yennenga prize winner be screened in 50 film theatres in France.
Chefs from Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Burkina Faso came together to prepare the food for the big party at Hotel Independence after the opening ceremony a week ago. The festival ended last Saturday.
Graphic Showbiz Page: 24 Wednesday, March 18, 2009