From left: Tunisian actor Hichem Yacoubi, Mauritanian-born director Abderrahmane Sissako, actress Toulou Kiki, Tunisian actor Abel Jafri and actor Ibrahim Ahmed a.k.a. Pino pose during the photocall for 'Timbuktu' at the 67th annual Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, May 15, 2014. (EPA Photo/Julien Warnand)

Burkina Filmfest Accepts 'Timbuktu' Despite Security Fears


MARCH 01, 2015

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Award-winning movie “Timbuktu” exposing the brutal rule of jihadists in northern Mali will be in the lineup at this weekend’s prestigious African film festival Fespaco despite security fears, Burkina Faso’s culture minister said.

”The government of Burkina Faso has decided on the screening of ‘Timbuktu,’” Jean-Claude Dioma said on state radio late Friday.

The movie nominated for best foreign film at the Oscars and that days ago picked up seven awards at France’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, the Cesars, is running for the top African title, the Golden Stallion, awarded at the end of the week-long Fespaco festival.

”But along with it, security will be stepped up,” the minister said, saying authorities had evaluated the risks of showing the film.

The movie by Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako shows the residents of the ancient city struggling to maintain their daily lives after the jihadists took over large parts of northern Mali in 2012.

Sissako expressed “consternation” after being informed of an initial decision to withdraw the film from Africa’s premier film festival.

Dioma said no specific threats had been received, but “there are threats everywhere where the Islamists think someone is hurting aspects of their faith.”

Fespaco, which was founded in 1969, is held every two years in the Burkina capital Ouagadougou, drawing at least 12,000 moviegoers.

It opens Saturday and runs until March 7 this year.

Agence France-Presse