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The view from FESPACO

Christian Science Monitor’s Mike Crawley is attending FESPACO (Le Festival Panafricain du Cinma et de la Tlvision du Ougadougou), Africa’s largest and most influential film festival. Held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso for the 19th time, the festival lasts from February 26th to March 5th, and features almost 200 films produced on the continent. His “official” story for CSM talks about the absence of Hollywood figures, especially African American Hollywood figures, at the festival. Actor Danny Glover is the notable exception, serving on the jury of this year’s festival. His “unofficial”, blog story has the memorable headline, Move Buffs Eat Popcorn, Hyenas Eat Sheep Heads, and features one of the most unusual venues in modern cinema.

African super-blogger Owukori has a typically thoughtful and thorough look at this year’s festival on Black Looks, with a special focus on films made by female directors. Firmin Koto, reporting from Ouaga for L’Intelligent d’Abidjan also has a good piece, in French, on goings on at the festival.

Gaston Kabore, who won FESPACO’s top prize in 1997 with “Budd Yam”, announced the opening of a cinema school in Ouaga, called “Imagine”, at this year’s festival. It was a piece of good news that was overshadowed by the tragic news that two people were killed and dozens injured in a stampede at the festival’s opening ceremony. (Why no, I can’t write an unabashedly happy Africa article today. Why do you ask?)