Photographs by Andrea Frazzetta
In late February, a month before violent protests by the military in
Burkina Faso prompted President Blaise Compaore to dissolve his
government, an enthusiastic crowd swarmed Place des Cinéastes in the
capital city, Ouagadougou, as well as a dozen other sites, as part of
Fespaco 2011, the Pan-African Film and Television Festival that honors
contributions to African cinema. The biannual “African Cannes”
attracted nearly 8,000 attendees, according to Michel Ouedraogo, the
festival’s organizer. Many packed the city’s soccer stadium, but
others, in small villages like Pitmoaga, 30 miles west of the capital,
were able to watch movies on temporary screens. And for a few hours on
each of the festival’s eight days, it provided a welcome respite from
reality.
NUMBER OF FILMS IN COMPETITION: 111 (including 18 feature films and 22 documentaries)
COST OF PRODUCING FESTIVAL: $1.4 million
PORTION OF THAT COST PAID FOR BY BURKINA FASO’S GOVERNMENT: 60 percent
CASH PRIZE GIVEN FOR √ČTALON DE YENNENGA, THE TOP AWARD: 10 million CFA ($21,350)
NUMBER OF MEDIA CREDENTIALS DISTRIBUTED: 226
AWARDS GIVEN: 29
Tony Gervino

Slideshow at The New York Times.