By Dipo Olowookere
One organisation making frantic effort to take the African film industry to higher level is Ecobank Foundation.
The organisation has thrown its full weight behind the 2019 edition of the Festival Panafricain du Cinéma et de la Télévision Ougadougou (FESPACO) taking place in Ougadougou, Burkina Faso, from Saturday, February 23 to Saturday, March 2.
The prestigious festival is held every two years and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Organised by the Government of Burkina Faso, FESPACO is regarded as the most important film and cultural event on the African continent.
Named after one of French-speaking luminary African creative writers, the Ecobank Foundation has been sponsoring the Sembène Ousmane special prize since 2007. This year the following industry experts will select the winning film: Denise Epoté (Chair of the jury and Regional Director Africa of TV5 Monde), Clarence Delgado (filmmaker and former assistant of Sembène Ousmane), Cheick Oumar Cissoko (filmmaker and former Minister of Culture of Mali), and Issa Soma (journalist).
Winner of the prize will receive XOF 5,000,000 and a bronze trophy, representing the bust of Sembène Ousmane.
This year, over 400 movies will be screened at the festival of which 20 are taking part in the official competition. The special prize awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, February 28, while the overall winner of the festival will be announced during the closing ceremony on Saturday, March 2.
“It is a real honour for the Ecobank Foundation to sponsor such an important prize at this stellar film festival in Ougadougou,” says Carl Manlan, Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation. “Africa’s film industry is enjoying ever increasing global attention and acclaim, and we place great importance in providing public recognition to the film which best portrays the positivity of Africa. The Sembène Ousmane special prize will be awarded to the film which most reflects Ecobank’s value of dignity, honour and good governance.”
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