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'Tears of Satan' wins top prize at Ecrans Noirs festival


The 20th edition of the Ecrans Noirs festival has ended in the Cameroonian capital Yaounde with Moroccan filmmaker Hicham El Jebbari scooping the top prize.

The festival which run from July 15 to 23 is considered one of the important meeting points for players in African cinema. The Ecrans Noirs was created to promote film making on the continent.

Hicham El Jebbari’s “Tears of Satan”, a story about a former prisoner on a quest for revenge bagged the prestigious Ecran d’Or, the highest award on the night.

“I spent more than 5 years working on ‘Tears of Satan’,”Jebbari said. “It’s a very difficult film that speaks about a very important historical period in Morocco. Being honoured with the Ecrans d’Or at the 20th edition of the Ecrans Noirs is a very important thing. I am proud I (was) honoured. I would like to continue on this path,” he said.

French filmmaker Laurent Chevalier received the award for best documentary for his work “La Trace de Kandia” which traces the life of legendary Guinean singer, Kandia Kouyate.

Kandia Kouyate who died in 1977 at the age of 44 is regarded as one of the most powerful African singers of his time. He is believed to have put African music on the international map with his fusion of traditional music with jazz.

Chevalier in his documentary traced the footsteps of this powerful singer through his son Kaabi, meeting people who knew Kandia, as he sought to discover the man described as one with a golden voice.

“When you finish a film like this and you feel that the emotion you had to push, (and) push to make the film can suddenly be shared by a jury and beyond the jury, the audience, that is something that deeply touches the heart” Chevalier said after receiving the award.

In spite of the successes chalked at the festival though, one main barrier still exists – access to the quality works produced by the filmmakers.

The lack of access to these works by Africans both home and abroad derails efforts by African filmmakers to tell the story of the continent to a much larger audience.

The Ecrans Noirs film festival was founded in 1997 by director Bassek Ba Kobhio and is held every year in the Cameroonian capital, Yaounde.

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