By John Owoo
(At large in Tunis – Tunisia)
The 27th edition of Carthage Film Festival opened last week in the Tunisian capital Tunis with a clear message of preservation, revitalization and development of the film industry to take its rightful place in society.
Marked by a series of tributes and musical interludes by Tunisian Zoheir Gouga and Algerian Kaddour Hdadi, the event, which was majestic in all forms ushered in yet another edition of one of the longest film festivals on the African continent.
Opened by Tunisian Prime Minister Chahed Youssef amidst tight security, the colourful ceremony culminated in the screening of “Flower of Aleppo”, a film directed by Ridha El Behi on conflicts in the Arab world and the attraction to conservatism.
Known as a hub for Arab and African filmmakers and critics, the festival, which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee is set to screen over 100 films in various venues including Palais des Congres, movie theatres, universities, prisons and street islands.
Other events lined up include an exhibition of fifty posters to mark each year of the festival, activities to support an artist’s healthcare plan and a tribute programme to honour Haydée Chikli Tamzali and other pioneers of Tunisian cinema.
Additional programmes are an exhibition that would take visitors through the world of the late Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, visits and trips to famous tourist sites including the Bardo National Museum, Village of Sidi Bou Said, and the archaeological site of Carthage.
Also on the bill is an international symposium on the topic “Film Heritage at Risk”, which will feature experts from diverse countries in Africa, Asia and the Arab world, will be moderated by Prof Aboubakar Sanogo of the University of Ottawa, Canada.
Tributes will equally be paid to cameramen and other technicians, whose works remain unpublished through a subjective defining moment in the history of Tunisian cinema since its independence in 1956.
Several parallel sections, honors to past directors, an overview of prizewinning films from previous editions and a special focus on Russian and Asian cinema will be held alongside a special prize to be awarded to Tunisian director Ferid Boughdir for his passion for cinema and commitment to the Carthage Film Festival.
The festival ends on Saturday November 5.
Pictures – Carthage Film Festival