Since 1969, The Pan-African Film and Television Festival (known by its French acronym FESPACO) has been offering African film professionals the chance to establish working relationships, exchange ideas, and to promote their work.
FESPACO’s aim is to “contribute to the expansion and development of African cinema as means of expression, education and awareness-raising”. It has also worked to establish a market for African films and industry professionals. Since FESPACO’s founding, the festival has attracted attendees from across the continent and beyond.
African filmmakers have always celebrated one of Africa’s premier film festivals, held biennially at the the African Film Library of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, where the organization has its headquarter. 200 films were screened this year, competing for the Golden Stallion, the highest award granted at FESPACO. The festival was held under the theme “Training and trades in Film and Audiovisual”.
The Golden Stallion award
According to FESPACO, The Yennenga Stallion is the symbol of supreme consecration for the cinematographic production of the official selection. It is represented by a woman warrior, perched on the back of a reared up horse, holding a spear. This trophy derives its meaning from the founding myth of the empire of the Mossés, the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso.
FESPACO Golden Stallion winner
The African Storm – a film by Beninese director Sylvestre Amoussou, won this year’s FESPACO Golden Stallion award. The film tells the story of an African president who runs the country like his personal property with help from a cynical Western imperialist, it captivates how corruption, civil war, and the country’s ties with former colonial powers.
Frontières by Apolline Traoré (Burkina Faso)
Apolline won the the Golden Stallion statue with her film Frontiéres, the film is about three women who meet by chance while traveling by bus on the Dakar-Bamako-Cotonou route via Ouagadougou to Lagos. The journey is gruesome as they meet bandits in the wilderness following the breakdown of their car.
Felicit’e’ by Alain Gomis from Senegal’e
The ‘Felicit’e’ by Alain Gomis from Senegal was crowned as the the winner of the Golden Stallion. The film recently scooped the Silver Bear at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. In this film, the protagonist, Félicité, sings in a bar in Kinshasa to fund her 14-year-old son’s treatment after a motorcycle accident. She continues singing despite the horrific life that her son is going through following the tragic accident. The film is a captivating and painful narrative.
The Wedding Ring by Rahmatou Keïta (Zin’naariya!) (Niger)
Niger’s Rahmatou Keïta has been making films for more than 25 years, but The Wedding Ring is only her second feature film. In The Wedding Ring, a young woman has returned to her home in Niger after completing her degree abroad. She is dealing with the pain of a lost love when a spiritual adviser convinces her that she needs a wedding ring.