In March 2017, FESPACO (Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou) invited a huge number of directors, producers, actors and festival directors representing African cinema, to join them in celebrating their 25th biennial film festival.
Held in the Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, FESPACO monopolises the city during the seven days that it runs. With over one hundred and fifty films, and representatives from every film present, the atmosphere is awash with creative minds talking collaborations in between screenings, actors and actresses being bombarded into interviews and the general contented feeling that one gets among like-minded peers.
As a partner of FESPACO, a representative of the African Film Festival New Zealand (AFFNZ) was invited to attend the festival. And, although FESPACO and AFFNZ differ dramatically in terms of target audiences and sheer scale, the binding similarities were greatly evident, namely, our combined mission to make world-wide cultural acceptance the norm, by showcasing and spreading African culture from the heart of the continent and bringing it to the world’s stage.
While the range of genres and topics covered by film makers throughout the festival was vast and extensive the most favoured films were those that tackled issues such as gender equality, migration, racism, religion and albinism. Some approached this in the form of satire, as in Lodgers, a short comedy in which a couple from Nigeria move to the UK on Highly Skilled Migrant visas. The film produced violent belly laughs from everyone who has ever been or known a migrant, African or otherwise. Others, such as Ben and Ara, are much more direct in their truthful approach to living within cultural and religious restraints and the tumultuous effects that other societies can have on those beliefs.
AFFNZ is proud to be showcasing many of the films that also featured at FESPACO. We are confident that you, our audience, will enjoy them as much as we do.