A big day for Today

Senegalese film takes top prize at Panafrican Film Festival.

by Jennie Kermode

Top prize at the Panafrican Film Festival, Fespaco, has gone to Alain Gomis' Today (Tey, or Aujourd'hui), which had its European première at last year's Berlinale. The French-Senegalese co-production stars US musician Saul Williams, who took the Best Actor award for his peformance as a man revisiting familiar places on what is to be the last day of his life. It mixes poignant observation with astute criticism and musings on the ephemeral nature of existence.

It may not be as well known within the industry as some of its European counterparts, but Fespaco certainly outdoes them in terms of audience, packing 15,000 people into the Stade du 4-Août stadium in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) for its awards ceremony. It also stands out this year for having juries all of which were led by women.

Taking second prize at the fesival was Algerian Djamila Sahraoui's Yema, which explores the subject of religiously-inspired terrorism through an intimate portrait of a mother's grief, while boat people story La Pirogue came third. Mariam Ouedraogo was named Best Actress for her performance in local hit Moi Zaphira, about an impoverished villager who aspires to a better life through making her daughter a model.

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