FESPACO was established in 1969 at the instance of a group of film enthusiasts willing to promote the true face of Africa and her way of being.
The interest and hope the festival created at its 1969 and 1970 editions among the African public and film goers alike saw it turn into an institution in January 1972 with the introduction of a Grand Prize known as the Etalon de Yennenga.
Ever since the sixth edition in 1979, the festival became a biennial event starting on the last Saturday of February each odd numbered year.
FESPACO’s objectives include promoting African cinema, fostering the distribution and broadcasting of all African film productions both inside and outside Burkina Faso, and providing a platform for the industry people to meet and share experiences.
Another objective of FESPACO is to archive, restore and safeguard the continent’s film and video heritage. Besides, it should contribute to the development of African cinema as a means of expression and education.
Other activities include the African International Film and TV Market (MICA), The African Film Library Ouagadougou and publications on African cinema.
The Festival through the years
With the years, FESPACO became a major tribune for the African and Diaspora film production, as evidenced by the increasing number of film professionals and enthusiasts at each edition of FFESPACO. No doubt, Africa and the entire world are convinced that FESPACO serves as a meeting place and a springboard for African cinema.
Today’s records are staggering as they go on increasing from one edition to the other.
After nineteen editions, the festival now welcomes more than 80 countries. Figures of the last edition are as follows : 170 films on schedule, 151 producers, 46 distributors /buyers, 402 directors, 89 festival delegates, 216 film and TV technicians, 52 artistic collaborators, and about 4 000 film professionals, etc. This tells about the interest in this Pan-African film event.