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FESPACO cinema festival in full swing

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It was seven days of movie fever! This was the feeling that gripped the African continent during the 25th Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), which ran from 25 February to 4 March. Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis won the Golden Stallion prize for his movie “Félicité,” a story about a poor mother and bar singer who tries to raise money for her sick son’s operation. It is the second time that Gomis has won the regional film contest; he also just won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. The FESPACO competition is usually reserved for movies made in Africa and produced by African filmmakers. It also represents a networking opportunity for African movie makers to exchange ideas and showcase their work to a large audience. This year’s festival theme was, “Training Schemes for the Cinema and Audiovisual Industry,” and welcomed Côte d’Ivoire as its special guest of honour. President Alassane Ouattara attended the closing ceremony, together with his Burkinabe counterpart Christian Roch Kaboré, which illustrates the importance of this cultural event. With a budget of XOF 1.2 billion slated for the 2014-2023 period, this year’s edition featured 950 selected films with more than 450 video screenings to over 100 000 visitors. Created in 1969, FESPACO is organised every two years in Ouagadougou and is the largest film festival in West Africa.