By Iminza Keboge
Published March 4, 2016
TIMBUKTU, a drama film directed by Mauritanian/Malian/French Abderrahmane Sissako in 2014, shall open a festival in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on March 6, 2016.
The six-day Mashariki African Film Festival is set to screen 42 feature and short narratives and documentaries from across Africa on the theme, “Cinema Unites Africa”.
Tresor Senga, the President of Mashariki African Film Festival, says besides TIMBUKTU opening the festival, 2nd Mashariki African Film Festival has chosen Sissako’s work as the festival’s retrospective.
Born of a Mauritanian mother and Malian father in 1961, Sissako studied film directing in Moscow, Russia, before settling in Paris, France. He works as a director, screenwriter and producer.
Among the issues Sissako’s films address include migration, displacement and globalisation and how these themes affect the world in the 21st century.
TIMBUKTU competed for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival; and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards. It was also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Film Not in the English Language at the 69th British Academy Film Awards.
This French-Mauritanian co-production looks at the brief occupation of Timbuktu in Mali by Jihadists.
Other works of Sissako include HEREMAKONO (waiting for Happiness, 2002), BAMAKO (2006), and LA VIE SUR TERRE (Life on Earth, 1998)
Saying the aim of the second annual edition of Mashariki is to “show how cinema unites Africa”, Senga says Mashariki is an example of the efforts his country is using to reap benefits from African historic connections.