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The 27th edition of FESPACO: event receives a boost with the four special ECOWAS awards

Les Prix Cedeao Du Fespaco
Les Prix Cedeao Du Fespaco

Ahead of Saturday 23 October ‘Etalon de Yennega’ award ceremony of the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) presented the organisation’s four special awards for this 27th edition. The event took place on Friday 22 October, in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The first prize to be awarded was the special Award for Integration, won by Burkinabe filmmaker Boubakar Diallo, for his LES TROIS LASCARS. The members of the jury largely appreciated the relevance of the movie’s theme and its particular focus on sub regional cooperation. The jury members equally appreciated the artistic and technical qualities but, more importantly, the reliance on skills drawn from several ECOWAS Member States to produce the film, a genuine proof of regional integration.

The special Award for Best Female Filmmaker in West Africa was won by Aïcha Macky of Niger for her film ZINDER. A film which, in its uniqueness, tells the story of a young woman left to fend for herself in the second largest town in Niger, at the mercy of violent elements. The film also highlights cross-border trade issues between Niger and Nigeria. The impeccable artistic and technical production is laudable and showcases the filmmaker’s skill in the choice of theme and storyline.

As for the special Award for Best Young School Filmmaker, the award was given to Agnon Flora DONGBEHOUNDE of Benin for her film INTRADUISIBLE DECISION. The film treats the issue of resilience in face of rape and the fight against gender-based violence.

Finally, the special award for Youngest Actor (male or female) went to Temi Ami-Williams of Nigeria for her captivating role in the film EYIMOFE. The young actress delivers a true-to-life portrayal of Rosa, who must grapple with daily hurdles to pay the hospital bill of her pregnant and hospitalised sister.

Earlier on, on Friday, 22 October 2021, Commissioner Mamadou Jao, in charge of Education, Science and Culture, alongside his delegation members, had met with Fespaco delegate, Moussa Alex Sawadogo, and had reaffirmed the readiness of the ECOWAS Commission President, H.E Jean Claude Kassi Brou, to continue to support this important cultural event and its ever-growing international audience.

Dr Mamadou Jao, head of ECOWAS delegation to the 27th Fespaco, noted that the films of this edition attest to the vibrant creativity of men and women of the 7th art, despite the difficulties facing the African film industry, the global health situation due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and the security situation caused by terrorist attacks in the region.

The Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture thereafter met, at the ECOWAS stand, with Togolese Minister for Culture and Tourism, Dr Kossi Gbényo Lamadokou, who commended ECOWAS commitment to and support for culture in general and the African film. The Togolese minister availed himself of the opportunity of the audience with the head of ECOWAS delegation, to present the Moving Picture and Film Act recently adopted by his country’s National Assembly together with the Culture Aid Fund (FAC), which aims to promote the country’s cultural industry.

It will be recalled that Commissioner Jao had visited, on Tuesday 19 October 2021, the headquarters of the CNA (Mobile Cinema), which is an international network of mobile cinema associations. The association is in several countries, including nine in Africa and France. The aim of the network is to promote African culture through film, especially in rural areas. He commended the leadership team for their contribution towards the grassroot population of the sub region.

The Head of the ECOWAS delegation is to hold a press conference at the ECOWAS stand on Saturday 23 October, where he will be briefing and discussing with the national and international press on ECOWAS programmes and activities related to Culture, notably the issue of copyright, the first edition of West African Festival of Arts and Culture (ECOFEST). He will also brief the press on ECOWAS participation at Fespaco 2021.

It should be recalled that the Award for Integration is given to a well-made film that focuses on the theme of integration or draws from the creativity of citizens of the Community, their capacity for innovation, adaptation, or improved living conditions, in a bid to foster sustainable development. The Award for Best Female Filmmaker, which mainly aims to promote the woman as a filmmaker and major player in development, is intended for a female citizen of the West African sub region. The awards will help enhance the presence and place of ECOWAS in this biennial celebration of the seventh art.

The third Award is for the Best Young School Filmmaker. The award is given to encourage creativity among the youth from film schools. The fourth award is dedicated to the Youngest Actor (male or female) in West Africa.

It is worth noting that ECOWAS objective in establishing these awards is to support and encourage creativity within the sub region, promote cultural exchange, strengthen cooperation with filmmakers, while promoting integration and the move towards an ECOWAS of people.

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