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FESPACO WINNERS (article first published : 2003-03-11)

A 15 strong delegation comprising filmmakers, actors, festival organisers and film and broadcasting personnel from South Africa created strong impact at Africa's most established film festival, FESPACO. Hosted in Burkina Faso, West Africa, the weeklong 18th edition of the prestigious Pan-African film festival closed on March 2 with a festive awards ceremony.

Two South African productions were awarded prizes. Director, Zola Maseko won the accolade of Best Short Film for his latest film A Drink in the Passage. The film Promised Land was awarded a prize in the Best Editing category.

For the first time, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) coordinated a collaborative South African presence, which included partners M-Net and the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC). In a bid to develop a mutually beneficial long-term relationship with FESPACO, the NFVF initiated partnership discussions over a year ago. The resulting profile and due prominence given to South Africa at the festival reaped much reward.

Some 10 films were screened at the festival. Three in competition and seven screened as part of the Focus on South Africa retrospective. Festivalgoers were also able to watch a selection of South African product at viewing booths on the South African business stand.

NFVF CEO: Khalipha Eddie Mbalo said: “We are pleased that many of our objectives were successfully met at FESPACO. The festival is a significant platform, which engages key cinema stakeholders on a Pan-African level with global impact. In achieving a concerted South African presence, we were, through partnerships and a spirit of unity, able to accomplish critical founding steps which will lead to a strengthened industry voice across the continent”.

A meeting with the Minister of Arts and Culture of Burkina Faso resulted in talks of establishing a cultural cooperation between the two countries with a specific focus on the film industry. The Burkinabe Ministry intends to send a delegation to South Africa on an exploratory mission to assess how such an agreement can reciprocally benefit the development of our cultural industries.

Such agreements lead to exchange programmes, increased access to resources and statutory commitment to development. South Africa's agreement with China led to the Chinese Film Festival held in South Africa in November last year. A similar agreement with India led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for film, between the NFVF and the National Film Development Corporation of India in October 2002. This has already led to co-production negotiations between a Durban-based filmmaker and her counterparts in India.

At FESPACO, discussions to explore the potential restructuring of the Pan-African Federation of Film Associations (FEPACI) were initiated by the NFVF. A general meeting with FEPACI was held and led to agreement in establishing regional chapters with a secretariat rotating across the continent. Talks of the next FEPACI congress being hosted in South Africa are in progress.




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