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Africa’s Biggest Film Festival Awards Controversial Movie About Western Control

"The African Storm" is leading the discussion on how post-colonial ties affect every aspect of the African experience. 

Africa’s biggest film festival, Fespaco 2017, concluded last week and honored one of the most controversial films nominated.

Held in Burkina Faso’s capital of Ouagadougou, the annual event invited an international audience to watch films, network and celebrate excellence in the budding industry. But the talk of the town was L’Orage Africain (The African Storm) a film about an African president who’s business ties to Western companies threatens his tenure in office.

The film was awarded a cash prize of $32,000 and the Golden Stallion of Yennega honor. Hitting close to home, the film stood out because many filmmakers are funded by Western donors and don’t have the liberty to talk about issues of of post-colonization in their projects.

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“It is not a film against peoples, it is a film for friendship between peoples, because the leaders manipulate us,” the director, Sylvestre Amoussou told AFP. “One can not, after more than fifty years of independence, be still under the tutelage of the leaders.”

French actress Sandrine Bulteau, who stars in the film, agreed.

“If I have accepted this role, it is above all because I want all Westerners to be aware of what is happening in Africa,” she says. “Because we also hide the truth from us.”

According to BBC, the Fespaco 2017 festival, modeled after Cannes, was said to have received more submissions than ever before with 200 films screening during the week.