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AFRICAN FILM SUMMIT (article first published : 2006-04-10)

In response to a call for the establishment of an African Commission on the Audiovisual and Cinema industries, as well as a Fund to promote the cinema industry and television programmes in Africa, the Department of Arts and Culture (DAC) and the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF) of South Africa in association with the Pan-African Federation of Film-makers (FEPACI), recently hosted the first African film Summit in the Tshwane, Gauteng.

Key stakeholders will be able to discuss and propose ways forward on how to begin the implementation process of various declarations and resolutions made and endorsed by the AU regarding cultural industries in general and the audiovisual industry in particular, and to reform, restructure and democratise FEPACI, with a view to re-energizing it as a major voice for the interests of African cinema and as a vehicle and forum for unity, collaboration and exchange among filmmakers.

Over 200 film practitioners from the African continent and the Diaspora, including representatives of national and regional film associations, guilds and unions, continental and national government institutions and other key stakeholders attended the Summit.

Among the delegates were some of the most celebrated African film pioneers including filmmaker and current Minister of Culture of the Republic of Mali, Cheik Omar Cissoko, Sarah Maldoror of the Cape Verde, Safi Faye of Senegal, Prof Haile Gerima (Ethiopia), Med Hondo (Mauritania), Souleyman Cissé (Mali), Kwah Ansah (Ghana) and Gaston Kabore (Burkina Faso) headed a panel discussion on the historical challenges and successes of African cinema.

Another panel headed by Jacques Behanzin the Secretary General of FEPACI, Abdurrahman Sissako (The Guild of African Directors), Idrissa Ouedraogo, (The Association of African Film Producers ARPA), Imruh Bakari (East African Filmmakers Forum), Dingi Ntuli (Black Film and Video makers Association), Madu Chikwendu (Association of Nigerian Film Producers), Abdulkadir Ahmed Said (Africa Cinema Centre) and Aminata Ouedraogo, General Secretary of the Pan-African Union of Women in the Image Industry UPAFI) discussed the history, challenges and future of Pan African filmmakers’ organisations and associations.

Representing H.E Adv. Bience Gawanas, Commissioner for Social and Cultural Affairs, African Union was Dr Kamel Esseghairi , the Director of AU Social and Cultural Affairs, who participated in the panel discussion on the role of the African Union and NEPAD in the development of the African Audio Visual and Cinema industries.

Other representatives of national government departments and film statutory bodies participating were Afolabi Adesanya the Head of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Mohammed Bakrim Head of promotion and cooperation at the Moroccan Cinema Centre, Selven Naidu, Director of the Mauritius Film Development Corporation, and Baba Hama Director of FESPACO, the Pan African Film festival of Ouagadougou.




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