By Ogova Ondego
Published August 5, 2014
Africa has been plunged into mourning following the sudden death of one of its cinema ambassadors on August 1, 2014.
Guido Huysmans, the ‘ambassador of African cinema in Belgium’ who till his death was Artistic Director at Afrika Film Festival (AFF) in Leuven, Belgium, is reported to have died suddenly at home in Diest on August 1, 2014.
A media statement from AFF says the funeral for Huysmans, a passionate friend and supporter of African motion pictures who was born in 1958 in Belgium, is scheduled for August 8, 2014.
The statement says the late Guido Huysmans had recently returned home “from a mission to Rwanda and Burundi where he had close contacts with professionals of the local film industry and partners of the AFF. In Kigali, he was a member of the international jury of the Rwanda Film Festival or Hillywood.”
Considered “an international specialist on Burundian and Rwandan cinema”, Huysmans also knew many filmmakers from Congo, Mozambique, Senegal, Burkina Faso, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
The AFF statement issued in Leuven on August 4, 2014 says the late Huysmans had served on international film juries in places like Amiens, Venice, Prix Italia Torino, Zanzibar, Kigali, Cape Town and Bujumbura.
“Many international and national events and institutions…consulted or worked with him on African cinema,” the statement says.
It was his Concern for the lack of African voices at cultural events on Africa that drove Huysmans into joining hands with others to found AFF in 1995 as a platform from which Africans would tell their stories.
AFF says Guido Huysmans strove to “to build an international collaboration between the various African film festivals in Europe and to develop a sustainable market for African audio-visual media productions and cultures. With the establishment of the African Artist Award and the integration of the Umoja fashion show in AFF, Guido Huysmans had not only established himself as one of the principal promoters of African artists in Flanders, but one could not have been wrong for referring to him as the ambassador of African cinema in Belgium.”