The 27th edition of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) commenced on Saturday, October 16th, in Burkina Faso amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a growing Islamic insurgency in the West African country.
Despite the hurdles, Alex Moussa Sawadogo, head of the Ouagadougou Pan-African Film and Television Festival, said organizers decided to go ahead with the festival, known in its French acronym as FESPACO, to show Burkina Faso can still “inspire imagination through cinema.”
In an interview with BMA Sources, Sawadogo said, “this event will be a FESPACO of resistance because it is taking place under difficult security and health conditions.”
As a result, Sawadogo states that the number of venues has been reduced this year.
The weeklong festival will showcase films made by African filmmakers and films produced on the continent. Out of approximately 1,200 films submitted, 282 have been selected to compete, some of which have already been screened at festivals like Cannes and the Toronto Film Festival.
Burkina Faso’s minister of culture, arts, and tourism, Elise Foniyama Ilboudo Thiombiano, remarked that keeping the film festival going in the face of adversity is critical for the country and the African continent as a whole.
The festival started in 1969 and represents, till this day, a rare opportunity for African storytellers to showcase their creations on a global stage.