OUAGADOUGOU, BURKINA FASO (MARCH 03, 2019) (REUTERS) – Rwandan film director, Joel Karekezi scooped the much coveted “Golden Stallion of Yennenga” at the closing ceremony of Africa’s top film festival FESPACO, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The event was attended by hundreds of movie fans, including Burkina Faso’s president Roch Christian Kabore and his counterpart, Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame.
Karekezi’s film “The Mercy of the Jungle” tells the story of two Rwandan soldiers who were accidentally left behind in the jungle at the start of the second Congo War.
Kagame and Kabore presented Karekezi with the award.
“My heart was beating really hard because this movie is close to my heart, it’s a movie that I really wanted to make and now that it has gained recognition, it will now have a wider audience and I want it seen everywhere, he said.
This year’s festival, which also marked the festival’s 50th anniversary was also faced strong criticism for lack of female representation in the industry, especially when it comes to recognising the top award winners.
Only four movies in the running were directed by women, and in the history of the festival, no woman has ever won the top prize.
The week long festival, which ended on March 03, also offered film screenings, lectures and workshops, for those in the industry, including producers and directors to actors as well as film enthusiasts.