Rwandan culture feted at FESPACO festival in Burkina Faso

Rwanda is participating in the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), in Burkina Faso, where it was invited as a guest country. Rwandan films are among those competing for honours, while several Rwandans artistes were also invited.

The festival, which runs from February 23 to March 2, in Ouagadougou, will highlight the films of African filmmakers, mainly those produced on the continent. It was officially opened on Saturday by President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré of Burkina Faso.

According to a statement released by Rwanda’s Ministry of Sports and Culture (MINISPOC), FESPACO 2019, which is the 26th edition, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the festival under the theme “Confronting our memory to shape the future of a Pan-African cinema in its substance, economy and diversity”.

The festival is the largest biennial event to celebrate African cinema and Rwanda was invited as the ‘country of honour’, confirming Rwanda’s blossoming bilateral ties with the West African country.

The Minister for Sports and Culture, Espérance Nyirasafari, said the invitation and recognition of Rwanda, is a boost to the country’s fast growing audiovisual sector and gives Rwandan participants the opportunity to showcase their abilities.

“The place reserved for the ‘Land of Thousand Hills’ for this pan-African film event gives Rwanda the opportunity to demonstrate the country’s potential for audiovisual and socio-economic development through various professional platforms proposed by the festival,” said Nyirasafari.

The film and television festival in Ouagadougou has attracted thousands of people from across the world. The official opening of the 50th anniversary of FESPACO on Saturday was marked by fireworks.

The ministry, which is charged with promoting arts, culture and sports, said the visibility of Rwanda at the African and international level in different key areas of development will be enhanced, most essentially in cinema, tourism, investment, cultural heritage and Made-in-Rwanda products.

Through FESPACO, professionals in the film industry in Rwanda will be able to establish links and exchanges with filmmakers in Burkina Faso and those at the international level in the forum.

Rwanda has three films in the competition, including, ‘Icyasha’ directed by Clementine Dusabejambo, submitted in the short film category; ‘Mercy of the Jungle’, by Joel Karekezi, presented in the feature film competition, and ‘Inanga’(Inanga, guardians of tradition) by Jean Claude Uwiringiyimana, submitted in the short documentary category.

A fan celebrates at the opening of the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou 2019. 

Popular names in Rwandan music, including the national ballet, Urukerereza, members of Nyundo Music School, Intore Massamba andMani Martin will perform through cultural evenings and conferences in a wide variety of dances and songs.

Urukerereza performed on Saturday, mesmerising thousands of people at the Municipal Stadium in Ouagadougou.

FESPACO is a biennial festival African film competition staged in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Created in 1969, FESPACO was first called the Pan-African film and television festival before it evolved into an internationally recognise event.

The festival offers African film professionals a chance to establish working relationships, exchange ideas, and to promote their work.