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The tale of four women striving for an African ‘Oscar’ at the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou

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According to ApollineTraore, a renowned film director, the film basically deals with the bravery of women. 

 

Frontieres stars

The much awaited 25th bi-annual Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou got underway last weekend on a high in Burkina Faso with the Ivorian reggae star Alpha Blondy pulling an electrifying performance in the country’s capital.

The competition in the festival is expected to be tight among the 163 film entrants, all of them having their eyes set on the prestigious Etalon de Yennenga (Stallion of Yennanga) – the top prize. Some more 50 films will be shown out of the completion.

This year, film lovers lined up to watch the Frontieres, an African movie revolving around the lives of four women – a Burkinabe, Ivorian, Nigerian and a Senegalese, who crosses four nations by bus as they make their way to Nigeria’s city of Lagos.  In spite of the fact that they encounter a lot of struggle along the way, the four women come across the beautiful Sahelian landscape and other coastal countries. However, they have to contend with custom officers, rapists, thieves and even murderers.

“The film deals with the bravery of women,” director ApollineTraore told the French news service AFP. “There is a tendency to portray women, particularly African women, as housewives, sweet gentle women. But it is important to show another side,” the Burkinabe director said.

Financed with public funds and by a French telecoms group, the film will be distributed throughout French-speaking African country and in Europe,

At the opening ceremony, the name of Thomas Sankara was invoked over and over while koras and marimbas played to the Burkinabé dignitaries in the country’s municipal stadium.

Sankara was the country’s popular leader, assassinated in 1987 by Blaise Compaoré, his best friend.

More than 100,000 revellers are expected to attend the ten-day fest – the first since the overthrow of the disgraced Compaoré in 2014, and the first since last year’s terror attacks on various hotels and restaurants.

Workshops on ways to support independent African film and train cinematographers are set to take place all over Ouagadougou this week.

“We could do with many more film festivals in Africa,” said Nigerian filmmaker and poet Wana Udobang in an interview with The Guardian. “Here, people get to see different kinds of films so you don’t have this monolithic idea of what African film is.”

As Africa’s most talked about film festival got started, Moonlight was making history a world away, capturing “Best Film” at an Oscar night that carried more than a few surprises.

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, director of the Africa Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria, shared her excitement about the American film.  “One, because of its story, and second, the fact this was not a huge US budget film – it’s a $5 million film that actually won Best Picture, so for us in Africa, it holds a lot of hope,” she said.

Credit: GIN, edited by Sam O. Abuya

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