With the revolution of filmmaking has come the need to bring films and filmmakers together. The creation of film festivals provides a place where filmmakers can showcase their films. Thousands of film festivals have formed around the world over the past decades. Some are larger and more prestigious; some are smaller and less known. Film festivals range in the types of films they host. Some festivals are specifically for comedy and some for horror. Some film festivals are open for any person of any country to enter. Film festivals provide excellent opportunities for unknown and independent filmmakers to become known. In a world where Hollywood and mainstream cinema dominates the market, film festivals provide a chance for independent filmmakers to publicize their work and possibly sell their films for distribution. However, are film festivals just a place where filmmakers try to sell their movies? Or can they do more?
[...] Overall, FESPACO is not only a film festival. It is an institution. An institution that aims to inform, unite, and inspire. While it may take place in Burkina Faso, it welcomes and serves all of Africa and their films. Filmmakers are encouraged to come out, speak, share, and unite. It is the festival's objective that makes it one of the most powerful in the world. Filmmakers can represent their countries and create awareness and inspire both social and political change. [...]
[...] Also starting in 1985 the festival adopted a new theme for each event. The theme for the 1985 festival was “cinema and people liberation.” The theme for the 1991 festival was “cinema and economical development” and the 1997 festival was "cinema, childhood and youth.” FESPACO's website gives the statement that the general themes sessions have been chosen while taking into account the worries of Africa and the role that African cinema should play in the awareness of African people. In this way, the theme should be understood as a reflection on major worries of our period and not as competition criteria. [...]
[...] The film is about a peasant who wants to turn a patch of land into a garden so he forms a farmers' union. Zoumbara broadens the concept of culture to lay claim on such social and political issues as agriculture for selfreliance, workers' unions, and migration to urban areas (Diawara 136). When filmmakers come to FESPACO, they are ambassadors to their country in charge of representing them. The greatest achievement for a filmmaker is to create social and political awareness in aim of promoting change. [...]
[...] The festival didn't take place on a regular basis until 1979, when it became biannual, alternating with the Carthage Film Festival in Tunisia. It was a concern that filmmakers entering both could dominate both film festivals. From then on it was decided that both festivals would be biannual. The Carthage Film Festival would occur in the even years and FESPACO would be held in odd years. FESPACO slowly adapted itself to the new parameters of the audiovisual business. In 1983 it established The African International Film and Television Market (MICA). [...]
[...] When compared to American film festivals, FESPACO is more prestigious in a way. Firstly, Africans face more of a struggle to produce a film. Many have to receive funding from France and depend on them for editing and film development. Also, they are limited by their equipment, money, and crew. African filmmakers use what they have such as real people (non actors) and real locations (no sets) to fit within the framework of their films. African filmmakers put a lot into their work. [...]
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