Ecrans Noirs: A veritable screening for African Cinema

The uniqueness and accomplishments of African Cinema again came under the glare of publicity this year with the organization of the annual Film Festival « Ecrans Noir» which ran from July 18 to 25 in Yaounde, Cameroon.

The Ecrans Noir (Black Screen) film festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in Cameroon and an important showcase for films across Africa. It previews and awards new films of all genre promoting culture and has created groundbreaking impact on Cameroon’s film making. Moreover, given its impressive media attention, the festival is attended by many movie stars and bigwigs in the film industry as well as potential investors. So it is an appropriate venue for film producers to launch and publicize their works to distributors who come from Africa and beyond. This year, Ecrans Noir Festival was placed under the theme, “Digital and Training Exigencies.”

Ecrans Noirs

Prior to the start of the weeklong event, Festival’s board selects a jury for the different categories who hold the sole responsibility of choosing the films to be honored. The jurors are chosen from finest of film makers both national and international, based on their work and respect from peers.

The Film Festival was created in 1997 by the country’s pioneer Film Maker, through the Ecrans Noir Association and today it is inscribed in the country’s cultural agenda, with Bassek ba Kobhio as its President. The festival is held in Yaounde and there are timid plans to eventually move it to other cities in Cameroon such as Douala or other capitals in countries that make up the sub region. The festival has a long-founded partnership with the Cannes Film Festival in France and Burkina Faso Film Festival just to name these two alongside a group of reputed Television Networks across the world.

The last evening of the weeklong festival saw the projection of the Closing Film, « L’Amour en bonus » roughly translated as Love in Fringe Benefit of the Ivorian, Jacques Trabi.

Taking first place for international competition was the Film Mbeubeuss from the Senegalese Producer Nicolas Cisse who received the award ‘Ecrans d’Or, the festival’s best distinction. In his very first Full Length Film, Nicolas Cisse focused on the daily lives of children who work in the biggest rubbish dumps of Dakar in Senegal. The Award, “Ecran du Doc” for international documentary category was accorded to the Cameroonian, Ariane Astrid Atodji for the film “Suffering is a school of Wisdom.” Other Cameroonian films won awards in the different categories.

Prior to every edition of the festival, there is a call for entries and the different submissions usually include: Full Length Films, Documentaries, Short Films and Cameroonian Films.

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