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The Festival has been running for more than 50 years – and represents a rare opportunity for storytellers to showcase their creations on a global stage.

The 27th edition of the Pan -African biggest film and Television festival has opened in Burkina Faso’s capital after an eight-month delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands thronged the Palais des Sports complex in the Ouaga 2000 district to witness the start of Africa’s largest film festival, which runs from 16 to 23 October.

The event was initially planned for February this year, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Fespaco, which started in 1969, is an internationally recognised festival that attracts enthusiasts from across the world to celebrate films largely produced in Africa by Africans.

Which films are competing this year?

Out of the 1,132 entries submitted across six categories, 239 films from 50 countries have been shortlisted.

Some 17 feature-length films will battle it out for the grand prize, the Golden Stallion of Yennenga, named after a beast in Burkinabé mythology.

Their directors come from Egypt, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Tunisia and Haiti.

The grand prize winner will be selected by an international jury headed by Mauritanian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako, who won France’s coveted César for best film in 2015 with Timbuktu.

Security was tight in and around the venue, with the army positioned strategically across Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso has been battling an insurgency by jihadist groups in the north and eastern regions since 2015.

“In the face of the unprecedented security crisis, we remain standing,” said the Burkinabé Culture Minister Elise Foniyama Ilboudo Thiombiano.

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