It's not just Hollywood that's under the spell of motion pictures these days. The African continent is anxiously awaiting the presentation of its own Oscars. Fespaco
, Africa's biggest film festival, started this weekend in Ouagadougou. The capital of Burkina Faso, the poorest country in the region, has been the stage for this biannual cinema spectacle since 1969. The coming week it the winners of the much sought-after Fespaco-awards will be announced. The African Oscar
is a statue of Yennenga, a warrior princess from the history of the West-African Mossi people, on her horse.
Treading the red carpet will be the bigger and smaller names of African cinema, from much awarded Malian filmmaker Manthia Diawara
to locally famous Burkinese actress and storyteller Bintou Sombié
African film is rapidly developing these last years, partly thanks to the Nigerian film industry, one of the continent's big success stories. 'Nollywood' brings out thirty new films a week and has a turnover of 250 million American dollars a year, making it the largest film industry in the world after Hollywood and Bombay. Filmmakers from other African countries are also in the limelight. One of the nominated films is
The Last Flight of the Flamingo
, by Mozambican director João Ribeiro, who earlier produced movies like Ali
and Blood Diamond
. The Beninese film One step forward
, on corruption, aid and democracy, is another contestant for Yennenga's Stallion, as the Award's called officially.
One thing's for certain: the much ventilated criticism in Hollywood that this year there are too little black filmmakers and actors amongst the nominees won't be heard in Ouagadougou.