The Tunisian filmmaker Farid Boughedir is the first Arab director who chairs the feature films jury of the African Fespaco Festival, which kicked off February 25 in the Burkina Faso capital.
“My chairmanship of this deep-rooted festival’s jury is not by chance, it is an inevitable result for the long cinematic journey I started when I was 16 years old at Carthage Festival in 1966,” Boughedir said in an interview with AFP.
Boughedir will be assisted by six other members, Cheikh Doucoure of Guinea, Keith Shiri (Zimbabwe), Letebele Masemolo Jones (South Africa), Michel Amarger (France), Safy Faye (Senegal) and Alimata Salambere (Burkina Faso).
The weeklong 17th PanAfrican Cinema and Television Films Festival (FESPACO) would feature a total of 59 films.
These include 20 films in the feature category, 18 short, 21 documentaries and 16 fiction films, the Festival Organizing Committee announced Thursday in Ouagadougou.
Committee officials told a press conference that a programming commission selected the films vying for honors from 108 feature and short films, and 99 video film entries.
FESPACO's budget for the current edition is estimated at over 800 million CFA francs. (750 CFA francs=1USD).
The short films category has a six-member jury, to be chaired by Frenchman Alain Burosse, assisted by Stanislas Meda (Burkina Faso), Pablo Cesar (Argentina), Richard Ishmail (South Africa) and Zara Mahamat Yacoub (Chad).
In the TV-Video category, the judges will include Denise Durand Epote (Cameroon), Rasmane Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso) and Sylvie Jezequel (France).
The festival will see an increase in the number of special prizes to be awarded to winners and additional support also given to award-winning productions, the Committee said.
FESPACO chief Baba Hama, said the prize money for various awards range from 250,000 CFA francs to 500,000 CFA francs, adding that winning films will be offered facilities for laboratory processing and duplication by FESPACO partners.
A promotional tour of the winning films in various French Cultural Centers will be one of the major innovations of the current edition, Hama added.
He said the edition would also feature exhibition of artifacts, among others.
There will also be meetings and seminars during the festival, to enhance professional exchanges on funding and the Kodak offer to Africa, in addition to discussions on AIDS.
Senegalese singer Youssou Ndour will entertain at the opening ceremony, while Congolese group Wenge Musica is billed to feature at the finale.
Burkinabe artists, including 30 bands, will also perform at various stages of the festival—Albawaba.com
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