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Kenyan movie shortlisted for top prize in Africa's premiere film fest

Kenyan movie shortlisted for top prize in Africa's premiere film fest
A woman arrives with the Yennega Stallion trophy of the 26th Pan-African Film and Television Festival (FESPACO in Ouagadougou on March 2, 2019.   -  
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ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP or licensors

Burkina Faso

Fifteen feature-length movies are vying for the top prize in next month's FESPACO festival, Africa's top cinema event, the organisers announced Friday (Jan. 13).

A total of 170 films are competing across 11 categories in the February 25-March 4 event, including short film, documentaries, TV series and animation, FESPACO said.

Drama "Shimoni" by Kenyan filmmaker Angela Wamai tells the story of a Geoffrey, a teacher who's recently started a new life after serving his prison sentence. As he leaves this place of confinement he is forced to move to a rural village he hates and face his nightmare in the flesh.

The 1-hour-37-minute film will have its African premiere at the Joburg Film Festival slated for Jan 31-Feb 5

Its world premiere took place last year during the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada.

Golden Stallion of Yennenga prize

Under FESPACO festival rules, films chosen for competition have to be made by Africans and predominantly produced in Africa.

This year's theme is "African cinema and culture of peace" -- an invitation, say the organisers, to reflect on how movies can encourage reconciliation in troubled times.

The Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou's host country Burkina Faso grapples with a seven-year-old jihadist insurgency that has killed thousands of people and forced around two million to flee their homes.

Following are the feature films vying for the Golden Stallion of Yennenga -- a trophy named after a beast in Burkinabe mythology:

- "The Planters' Plantation", directed by Dingha Eystein Young (Cameroon)

- "Our Father, the Devil", Ellie Foumb (Cameroon)

- "Ashkal", Youssef Chebbi (Tunisia)

- "Under the Fig Trees", Erige Sehiri (Tunisia)

- "Sira", Appoline Traore (Burkina Faso)

- "Abu Saddam", Nadine Khan (Egypt)

- "Bantu Mama", Ivan Herrera (Dominican Republic)

- "Mami Wata", de C.J."Fiery" Obasi (Nigeria)

- "Maputo Nakuzandza", Ariadine Zampaulo (Mozambique)

- "Our Lady of the Chinese Shop", Ery Claver (Angola)

- "Shimoni", Angela Wamai (Kenya)

- "Simin Zetwal", David Constantin (Mauritius)

- "The Blue Caftan", Maryam Touzani (Morocco)

- "The Last Queen", Damien Ounouri (Algeria)

- "Xale, Les blessures de l'enfance", Moussa Sene Absa (Senegal)

The Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) was launched in 1969 and draws thousands of movie fans and professionals from across the continent.

It is also closely followed by the US and European movie industries, which scout the event for new films, talent and ideas.

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