Solar-powered movie theater opens in Burkina Faso ahead of film festival

25 February 2017

Technology & Convergence

A solar-powered movie theater was unveiled in Burkina Faso on Friday ahead of the city’s hosting of Africa’s top film festival.

The theater, with a 300-seat capacity, will run on solar energy. Named Canal Olympia Yennenga, it is now the third-largest movie hall in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou.

Located in the city’s posh Ouaga2000 neighborhood, the theater cost about €3 million ($3.2 million) to build.

It is the brainchild of French businessman Vincent Bollore, whose company owns a premium TV channel and the cinema group Canal Plus.

“In the city of Ouagadougou, we lack movie theaters of this caliber,” said President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

“Ouagadougou is the capital of African cinema. We have every intention of keeping it that way,” Kabore said. “It is in our interest to have theaters.”

Ouagadougou is hosting the Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO), which was to kick off on Saturday and wind up on March 4 with an awards ceremony in the city’s soccer stadium.

More than 100,000 people are expected for the 10-day event, held every two years.

More than 160 movies are screening, including 20 vying for the top award, the Etalon d’Or (Golden Stallion).

During the theater’s unveiling, Kabore hailed the “beautiful tool” of culture.

A score of feature films from 14 African countries and the French West Indian territory of Guadeloupe are competing to take the top prize, won last year by “Fievres” (“Fevers”), by Moroccan director Hicham Ayouch.

The hall also opens at a time when many historic cinemas have shut and many African cities simply lack movie theaters.

The Canal Plus group is set to open about 50 other movie theaters in Francophone countries in Africa where the group operates, said Canal Olympia President Corinne Bach.

It is the third hall the group has opened, after Douala in Cameroon, Niamey in Niger and Conakry in Guinea.

Source: Japan Times 23 February 2017