FESPACO, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, has been running since 1969 and since the 1980s has grown into one of the most celebrated and significant cultural events on the African continent – and one of the most important gathering of African films and filmmakers in the world.
Every two years, makers and lovers of African cinema arrive in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, to show, watch and talk about films. The event dominates the city, and President Blaise Campoare’s government gives this jamboree its full support, even giving over its vast national stadium for its extravagant opening and closing ceremonies, featuring dancers, acrobats, music, fireworks and, of course, awards presentations.
In late Febuary 2011, the HiBROW team flew to Ouagadougou to film an immersive portrait of the festival and of African cinema via the people, events and films they encountered in this unique, vibrant and chaotic city.
ustify;">HiBROW interviewed many important filmmakers including Newton Aduaka
, Souleymane Cissé, Mahamat Saleh-Haroun, Jihan El-Tahri, Jean-Pierre Bekolo; spent time at cultural elder statesman Gaston Kabore’s impressive film school, Imagine; trailed young film fans as they travelled by moped to watch a Malian historical drama at a local cinema; went behind the scenes to capture the workings of the festival; and filmed the epic opening and closing events under the Burkinabe sky.
What the HiBROW team discovered was one of the world’s best kept secrets – a vital and vibrant celebration of cinema right at the heart of the capital of one of the world’s poorest countries.