FESPACO 2013: bigger, stronger, more quality

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Launched in 1969 and held every two years since 1979, the 23rd edition of the Panafrican Film and Television of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) will take place from 23 February to 2 March 2013 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso under the theme "African cinema and public policy in Africa." Fespaco organizers met with reporters on January 31, 2013 at the headquarters of the festival. Here is what came out.

A total of 618 films were submitted to FESPACO 2013, which will attract 35 countries represented over 101 films in the official selection, and an extra 66 films out of competition to be screened across seven rooms. Twenty of the films will compete in the main category while 18 films have been shortlisted in the video category. There are 17 films for the documentary category while 8 films will slug it out in the television series category.

Burkina Faso is present with 12 films in official competition and nine films out of competition. Benin for example submitted 5 productions. Algerian cinema production will be represented by 15 works including four in competition. South Africa has a film in the main competition: AMAA award winning “How To Steal 2 Million” by Charles Vundla.

FESPACO accepts only celluloid films produced on 35mm for its top prize. This is the reason why films such as many from Nollywood that are shot in digital format are thereafter relegated to the TV & Video category.

Altogether, 27 awards including “l'Étalon d'or de Yennenga” will be given with a sum of 10 millions francs CFA.

The biggest film festival on the African continent’s jury is made of 27 members including 14 women and 13 men coming from 23 countries around the world to bring international dimension to the event. Influential figures such as the President of the African Union, the wife of the Gabonese President (guest country) were announced in this edition.

As with every edition, the 2013 one includes innovations such rigor in the selection of 101 movies instead of 124 for the previous edition. This year’s selection has also been described as excellent by the Delegate General of FESPACO, Michel Ouedraogo. In addition, there is a desire to give women a prominent place in the choice of calling female personalities to chair all official juries but also in the choice of “Alimata Salambere” guest of honor at this 23rd edition, making her the first female guest of honor of the event.

Similarly, from this year onwards, an equal quota of men and women will be established for the composition of juries in future editions.

The local Cinematheque has been resurrected and its managing director is confident that the rebirth of the palace after the fire will help maintain its rank.

This year, a budget of 970 million was set and 40% of it and has already been secured. The organizing committee is confident that the entire budget will be reached.

Music is also part of the film festival, especially during the opening and closing.

In parallel and in partnership with Fespaco and Africadoc, “Cinema Numérique Ambulant” have organized five days of screenings and discussions to revisit 5 classics of African cinema (Yaaba, Quartier Mozart, Tasuma, le feu, “Gito l'ingrat”).

Patou FilmsInternational will also be organising “La Nuit De Série Africaine”. More details on their Facebook page.