Sunday, March 1, 2009
Africa's premier film festival is held bi annually in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. With primary focus on African films and film makers the event draws participant from within and without the continent for a week of celebration.
Initially planning on squishing up with the rest of Burkina Faso for the opening ceremony, a chance conversation resulted in me receiving an invite to the event - fortunately so for it offered me a vantage point to enjoy the entertainment to its fullest.
The festival is now in its 40th year, and from it humble start with just five participant countries - Senegal, Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), Ivory Coast, Niger and Cameroon, with some participation by France and the Netherlands.
Today the event host films from across Africa and is generously sponsored by Burkina Faso, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Republic of China, and donor organizations such as AIF(ACCT), PNUD, UNESCO, UNICEF, European Union and AFRICALIA.
Stade du 4-Août,the venue for the opening event is a 35,000 capacity open air stadium in close proximity to the city. A multi-event stadium it is the home ground of Etoile Filante Ouagadougou a Burkinabe foot ball club.
The event started off with a a parade of Giants, huge figurines manipulated by a man, walking and dancing around the track. This was soon followed by a number of musical performers,singers of reggae, West African pop and traditional music and most impressively a troop of drummers.
Next on were the dancers, a troop of girls in flat heeled cow boy boots who's intricate foot work left me bemused, a group of young men, pushing stylized water carts who's acrobatic leaps and dancing had the crowed cheering like mad.
With dusk falling and the sky turning from blue to black the grand finale was a huge fire works display that lit up the night in hues of red, white, blue and green.
The Burkinabe's sure know how to throw a show. This might be one of the worlds poorest countries, but the people here are gentile, soft spoken and laid back, prime reasons for me to select this as my home for the foreseeable future.
More pics at flickr