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Fespaco 2005 - Special Features
 
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FESPACO INDEX
South Africa at the festival
In 2001, South Africa didn't have a single film at the festival but this year is a different story. With a record four feature films in the shortlist for the grand prize, South Africa is sure to pose serious competition to the other entries. The only other country with that many finalists is the host, Burkina Faso.

Apart from the features shortlist, there are at least five other South African films showing at the festival with another six entries in the documentary and video categories of the competition.

This is probably a reflection of what is happening back at home with the country's vibrant film industry supported by the South Africa Film Council. The recent Cape Town World Cinema Festival saw a record turnout, a marked improvement on 2004. The turnaround has been helped by the new clutch of South African films that have plied the international film festivals in Venice, Berlin, Gothenburg, Rotterdam and Toronto. These have raised the profile of the South African film industry.

  Late South African producer, Dumisani Dlamini.
Africa in Hollywood
Hollywood has been "visiting" Africa for many years. Many classic films have either had an African theme or been set on the continent. Think of Casablanca, the African Queen, Mogambo, Out of Africa, Tarzan.

There've been recent ones too like Ali, Lumumba, Black Hawk Down, Cry Freedom and Amistad. A story often told is that of "a white man in Africa". Africa and the people are often only used as an exotic backdrop.

Now though there's been a very slow but visible impact of Africa on Hollywood and this year more than any other, African stories are in the running for some of the top American awards, the Oscars.

  Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall star in Casablanca
Rwanda's Genocide in Celluloid
In 1994, a tragedy unfolded in Rwanda that pitted neighbours against neighbour. Events were sparked by the death of the Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down near Kigali airport. Hutu extremists, suspecting that the Rwandan president was finally about to implement a peace deal on power sharing were believed to be behind the attack.

In a matter of hours The Rwandan Armed Forces (FAR) and Hutu militia - the Interahamwe - set up roadblocks going from house-to-house killing Tutsis and moderate Hutu politicians. Thousands died on the first day. An estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the space of 100 days. For the first time since the Jewish Holocaust during World War II, the term "Genocide" would be used to describe the events of April 1994.

  Rwanda refugees
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