Nilewater Multimedia FESPACO West Afro Caribbean Film Festival at Motor House by Angela N. Carroll
On Friday March 25th, Nilewater Multimedia, a multimedia company representing Africa and the African Diaspora, will present the second installment of its stellar series, FESPACO West Film Series. The series premiered a stirring collection of Afro-Brazilian films earlier this year. The upcoming series will debut films produced in the last five years from Afro-Caribbean directors.
FESPACO West is a series of media exhibitions in promotion of the internationally renowned film festival, The Pan African Film Festival of Ouagadougou, commonly known as FESPACO, the largest festival and market for continental African cinema. Founded in 1969, nine years after gaining independence from French colonial rule, the festival was developed to celebrate and promote films created by and about continental Africans. Similar to Tribeca, Sundance, or Cannes, the biannual festival features thought-provoking feature lengths, shorts and documentary films from legendary directors like Ousmane Sembene, Haile Gerima, Alain Gomis, Andrew Dosunmu and others whose lens illuminates nuanced perspectives about African experiences. 2019 will mark FESPACO’s 50th Anniversary.
Nilewater Multimedia began the FESPACO West series to facilitate a cross cultural exchange between the festival in Burkina Faso and transplanted African Diasporic communities in urban centers across the United States. Founder of Nilewater Multimedia, Omar Akbar describes the initiative as a “mechanism to sustain black consciousness on a global scale.”
“I work with [the] Burkina Faso government to expand FESPACO to the diaspora in the western hemisphere. [This] is the first time they will allow non continental people to submit to the festival,” he shared during a brief interview.
FESPACO West aspires to be a sustainable bridge between Burkina Faso, other African countries and US cities with dense African diasporic populations like Baltimore, Washington D.C., Virginia, New York and Los Angeles.
“It’s about the work,” Akbar continues, “the guiding principles that drive the work, [and] an opportunity for Black filmmakers from the Western Hemisphere to participate in [FESPACO] 2019.” The Caribbean installment of FESPACO West will premiere seven short films produced in the last five years from Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Martinique, Barbados, and Curacao.
Through the company’s partnership with the Burkina Faso Embassy, they plan to organize more screenings and study abroad opportunities for African cinephiles based in the West. “We are working to increase visibility. Most [African Americans] are unaware of FESPACO and its significance. Nilewater Multimedia keeps community in mind, to sustain principles of Black Consciousness, Black Collectivism, and Pan-Africanism through multimedia. We have a great network of people who recognize that throughout the continent and the African diaspora.”
Nilewater Multimedia FESPACO West Afro Caribbean Film Festival at Motor House May 25 at 7:30 pm
Visit https://motorhousebaltimore.com/events/ , Ankh Ba Records & Nilewater Multimedia on Facebook, @nilewater777 on Instagram for more information about the FESPACO West Film Festival.