Announced last fall, the Locarno Film Festival's Open Doors co-production mart will focus on French-speaking Sub-Saharan Africa this year. The prominent Swiss fest has recruited African cinema pros to consult in selecting a dozen participating projects that were to be announced in May.
Fast-forward 6 months later, and, it's not yet May, but close enough. Locarno has announced its selection for its 2012 Open Doors co-prod mart, and there are a few names/titles we've profiled on S&A in the recent past, like Akosua Adoma Owusu and her Black Sunshine project.
Other familiar names include Aissa Maiga (primarily known as an actress), with a project titled Il faut quitter Bamako (We've Got to Leave Bamako), and Jean-Pierre Bekolo's Le President (I've written about his last work, the sci-fi drama Les Saignantes).
Open Doors assigns a prize worth 50.000 Swiss Francs ($58,000), and other smaller cash nods. Previous editions of Open Doors have focused on Central Asia, Greater China and, last year, India.
Open Doors will run Aug. 4-7, during the Aug. 1-11 Locarno fest.
Co-productions between African filmmakers and European production houses/financiers certainly aren't new. Several African films we've talked about on this site fall under that umbrella; like Viva Riva!, for example – which was a Congolese, French, Belgian and South African co-production, funded by Canal Plus and Belgium’s film fund.
And we've announced a number of these intercontinental co-production markets in the last year.
So all these projects are now officially on my watch list. I'll research those we haven't profiled and post separate entries.
17 African nations are represented on this year's list which follows below:
"Ailleurs" (Away) by Leslie To (Burkina Faso)
"Black Sunshine," by Akosua Adoma Owusu (Senegal/Ghana)
"De la rue a l'ecole" (From Street to School) by Pape Tall (Senegal)
"Faso fani, la fin du reve" (Faso Fani, the End of the Dream) by Michel K. Zongo (Burkina Faso)
"Fragments de vies" (Pieces of Lives) by Laza (Madagascar)
"Il faut quitter Bamako" (We've Got to Leave Bamako) by Aissa Maiga (Mali)
"La prochaine fois, le feu" (Fire Next Time) by Mati Diop (Senegal)
"Le President" (The President) by Jean-Pierre Bekolo (Camerun)
"Lombraz kan" (Shadows of the Sugarcane) by David Constantin (Mauritius)
"Nye" (The Eye) by Daouda Coulibaly (Mali)
"Pakitalaki, portrait d'une famille" (Pakitalaki, Portrait of a Family) by Adama Salle (Burkina Faso)
"Toutes voiles dehors" (Secret Faces) by Jean-Marie Teno (Camerun).