Monday, March 07, 2011

Moroccan film triumphs at Pan African Film Festival

At the 22nd FESPACO Pan African Film Festival held in Burkina Faso last week, Morocco walked away with first prize. The Golden Stallion award was won by Mohamed Mouftakir for his film Pegase.

Our film correspondent reports that the movie is about a girl, Rihanna, who is raped by her father and who believes she is pregnant with a demon. Mouftakir is reported as being delighted with such recognition and encouragement from Africa's top Film Festival. It's his debut film and is set in the Moroccan countryside.

The runner-up Silver Stallion prize went to Un homme qui crie (A Screaming Man) by Chad director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. This film received the Jury Prize, a mark of special recognition, at last year's Cannes prestigious Palme d'Or, the first time in 13 years an African feature competed for the top award in Cannes.

Romantic comedy Le mec ideal (The ideal guy) by Ivory Coast's Owell Brown took the Bronze Stallion.

The Jury Prize in Ouagadougou for special recognition went to Notre etrangere (The Place in Between), the poignant story of a mixed race woman who returns to Burkina Faso from France to find her mother. It was directed by Sarah Bouyain.

In all 18 films were competing for the feature film awards.

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore handed out the awards at the closing ceremony of the 22nd FESPACO before some 22 000 dignitaries at Ouagadougou's main stadium.

The best actor award was given to Sylvestre Amoussou of Benin, who is also director of Un pas en avant, les dessous de la corruption, a film that takes a look at the misappropriation of international aid. Samia Meziane in Voyage a Alger (Journey to Algiers) was named the best actress in the movie by Algerian Abdelkrim Bahloul.

Les amours d'un zombie (The Loves of a Zombie) by Arnold Antonin from earthquake-scarred Haiti was awarded the African Diaspora prize.

While some critics and filmmakers were disappointed by the FESPACO's standards, Compaore hailed the festival as "a victory for Africa" with "quality production that can integrate markets".
A record number of films, 475 instead of 300 expected, applied for entry into the biennial festival, testimony that African cinema is vibrant, organisers said.

But the African film industry, which represents only 3% of the world market, is under threat from piracy - a "culture Aids" - and the disappearance of cinema, they said.

FESCAPO remains a popular festival attracting thousands of filmmakers, celebrity actors and filmlovers since its inception in 1969. This year's event took place against the backdrop of the Arab world uprisings, and yet still attracted entries from Algeria, Egypt and Morocco - all touched by upheavals.

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