Best of FESPACO Shorts 2015 with Director Monique Mbeka Phoba & Curator Enoka Ayemba in Attendance
The Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Festival panafricain du cinéma et de la télévision de Ouagadougou, FESPACO), which celebrated its 24th edition this year, is certainly the least known of all international film festivals. Founded in1969, its greatest achievement is its continuous establishment as an important display window for film productions of a whole continent.
Even though most spectators and observers focus their attention on the festival’s flagship, the competition for the Étalon du Yennenga (“Stallion of Yennenga”), the price for the best feature film, the short film competition for the Poulain du Yennenga (“Foal of Yennenga”) award is not any less prestigious. Numerous winners of the short film competition have made career afterwards. Here are just a few examples: The Tunisian Brahim Tsaki in 1979 for La boîte dans le desert, Idrissa Ouédraogo from Burkina Faso for Poko in1981, the Senegalese Djibril Diop Mambéty in 1995 for Le Franc, the Nigerian Newton Aduaka 1999 for On the Edge, Fanta Régine Nacro from Burkina Faso for Bintou in 2001, or as well the Algerian Khaled Benaissa in 2009 for Sektou.
Out of 22 competing shorts in the 2015 edition of FESPACO, about one third was realized by women. The films of our four “Best of” selection or “coup de coeur”, of which three directed by women, have all been acclaimed by critics and different publics at numerous festivals around the globe. Their common denominator: their main character is a woman. The stories told by these films are set between colonial Congo (Soeur Oyo) and today’s urban realities in Madagascar (Madame Esther), France (Zakaria), or the United States (Aissa’s Story). A caleidoscope of stories at the image of their author’s complex biographies.
The screening June 24 from 8 -11pm will be followed by an open discussion with director Monique Mbeka Phoba and Enoka Ayemba as well as by a small reception in the cinema foyer.
With the friendly support of Brot für die Welt/EED, Katholischer Fonds, Aktion Afrika des Auswärtigen Amts.
Media partners: Africiné, Adefra, Zentrum Moderner Orient, Club der Freunde von RFI, Berlin Poche, Humboldt University, Exberliner, multicult.fm, Art Labour Archives, Planète Métis, Contemporary &, Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland, Terre des Femmes Foundation, Afroheat
R: Luck Razanajoana, Madagascar, 2013, 15 min.
Cast: Rasoambolanoro, Roger Ralaimanga, Dominique Savio
Madame Esther is fifty-year housekeeper who has just been fired. Her promise of taking her grand-son to the see is no longer holding, so she agrees to host cockfights at her place, a meeting point for both angles and crooks…
R: Monique Mbkea Phoba, Congo, 2014, 24 min.
Set in the Belgian Congo in the 1950s, Sister Oyo tells the story of Godelive, a Congolese schoolgirl at the Catholic boarding school Mbanza-Mboma, the premiere French language school for Congolese girls. She is to be westernized, following the will of her parents, but the memory of her grandmother intervenes.
Leyla Bouzid, Tunisia/Tunisie, 2013
Zak lives a quiet life with his wife and his two children in a village in southern France. When he learns about his father’s death in Algeria, he decides to go there with his family. Sarah, his daughter, refuses to join them.
Aissa’s Story | L’histoire d’Aïssa
Iquo B. Essien (USA-Nigeria), 2013, 15 Min.
Aissatou Bah is an African immigrant housekeeper and single mother recovering from a brutal sexual assault by Henrik Keppler, a wealthy hotel guest. After the Manhattan District Attorney decides not to take the case to trial – due to a lie Aissa told to get asylum – Aissa struggles to move on with her life. But when her daughter Rama gets bullied, Aissa must find a way to regain Rama’s trust, find justice and her lost dignity.
Leyla Bouzid lives between Paris and Tunis—where she grew up. After completing secondary school she left for Paris to study French literature at the Sorbonne University. After several internships, during which she made Sbeh el Khir, she entered La fémis, the French National Film School in Paris to study directing. Mkobbi Fi Kobba, her graduate short film, won the Jury prize in the student film category of Premiers Plans in 2012. Zakaria her first short film produced was shot in the south of France. She is currently preparing her first feature film God protect my daughter.
Monique Mbeka Phoba was born in 1962 in Brussels; daughter of a diplomat, she very early established herself in Belgium. She studied at the Free University of Brussels where she was actively involved in the programmes of Radio Campus, producing many shows. After a degree in Commercial and International Sciences at the Institut d’Etudes Supérieures de Saint-Luc in Brussels, she enrolled in an introductory course in video documentary at Ateliers Varan, created by Jean Rouch, in Paris. In 1991 she directed Revue en vrac with Fred Mongu, journalist of the national television of Zaire. The film gives a perspective on the birth of the independent and pluralist press in the Congo. She continued with several documentaries all of which made a connection with Africa (she lived in Benin for several years and worked for the Benin TV) Rentrer? (1993); Deux petits tours et puis s’en vont (1997 – on the presidential elections in Benin); Un rêve d’indépendance (1998); Sorcière, la vie (2004); Entre la coupe et l’élection (2007).
Iquo B. Essien is a Nigerian-American writer, director and photographer. Her short film, Aïssa’s Story, was a regional semifinalist in the 2013 Student Academy Awards. She is currently adapting the short into a feature film while writing the memoir, Elizabeth’s Daughter, about losing her mother to cancer and finding herself through writing. Iquo B. Essien attended Stanford University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film Program. Her production company, Editi Films, is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a charitable organization that helps artists and art organizations create engaging, publicly beneficial work. Iquo divides her time between Brooklyn and Lagos, and writes a popular blog, Alligator Legs, about art and life.
At 26 years of age, Luck Ambinintsoa Razanajaona, who graduated from the Marrakech School of Visual Arts, has already directed several short films and documentaries. In 2012, he took part in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Talent Campus. The struggle for independence in Madagascar was when ideas, strength, rage and the supernatural combined to create an explosive cocktail defeating the invaders, but in the end, did the war really change things?
Enoka Ayemba works in Berlin as an independent film curator and author. His main focus areas are Cinema Cultures in Africa, the Nigeria Video Film Industry and anticolonial resistance. He has curated numerous film series, amongst others african reflections – female directors in cinema (Berlin, 2007 with Philippa Ébéné), Do you see me? A film series in the framework of 50 Years of African In-Dependences (Berlin, 2010), African Threads and Laces (Vienna, 2011 with Katja Wieder- spahn), Black People and the Nazi Regime (Berlin, 2013) and recently Beyond the Maps – African Resistance against Colonial Power (Berlin, 2014/2015). Between 2009 and 2013, Enoka Ayemba also organised the monthly film series Afro Digital (before: Nollywood Spezial) at Werkstatt der Kulturen Berlin and was member of the Selection Commitee of Berlinale Talent Campus in 2010. He is co-founder of the Berlin based curators group Remember Resistance.