Sam Reinders

fespaco: The blackness of the desert sky provides ideal outdoor cinema conditions - but this is about the only thing that predisposes Ouagadougou to host Africa's biggest and most vital film festival. Yet every odd year this dusty and raw capital city of Burkina Faso, becomes a carnival of all things film. FESPACO (Le Festival Panafricain du Cinema et de la Television de Ouagadougou) attracts thousands of foreign cinephiles and locals alike: from children who, at aged 8 or 10 might not have seen a moving image on a screen for the first time to the giants of African film. There is no big money involved, no flattery afforded to the actors (it's the directors here that take the limelight). There are no agents or publicists and the red carpet, instead of being lined with slick black limousines is crowded with masses of rickety mopeds. Despite the piercing heat and the distinct un-Hollywood qualities of the place, important distribution deals are made here with a simple handshake, ideas and film projects are born in the dust and, most importantly, African film is enjoyed and celebrated.