The Moroccan film C’est eux les chiens and the Senegalese Mille Soleils have triumphed at the 10th African Film Festival of Cordoba-FCAT, winning the Griot Awards for the Best Feature Length Film and the Griot for the Best Documentary Film, respectively.

Named ‘Griots’ in honour of the West African tradition of spreading culture orally, today, cinema is considered as the new ‘griot’, allowing for exposure and reflection on cultures through the audiovisual image.

The 27 films in competition were screened in three different competitive sections: The African Dream (feature length films), On the Other Side of the Strait (Documentary Films) and Africa in Short (short films, both fictional and non-fictional).

C’est eux les chiens, directed by Hicham Lasri, has been awarded the Griot for the Best Feauture Length Film. The Counselor of Magtel, Isidro López Magdaleno, presented the award to the actor who played the main character in the film, Yahya El Fouandi, on behalf of the filmmaker. 

The jury’s president, French film critic Olivier Barlet, firmly stated that this section presented “a large number of innovative and stunning films”, thus presenting difficulty in selecting a winner. 

The Griot for the Best Documentary Film went to the Senegalese documentary film Mille Soleils, by Mati Diop, niece of the emblematic Senegalese filmmaker Djibril Diop Mambéty. The documentary follows the life of one of the main characters of the film by Mambéty, Touki Bouki (1973), Magaye Niang, who played the role of Mory. The Griot for that award was presented by Miguel López, in representation of Eurostars Hotels, who sponsored this award. 

According to the jury, the documentary selections at the festival included “innovative work that stands up for its poetry and regards for culture and heritage, past and present.”

The Audience Award went to the feature length film Malagasy Mankany, by Haminiaina Ratovoarivony. The road movie, other than being the first feature length film for the filmmaker, is also the first film that has been fully shot in Madagascar.

As for the Award for the Best Short Film, it was given to an Algerian production by the filmmaker Karim Mouassaoui, director of Les jours d’avant. Blanca Escribano, representing El Corte Inglés, sponsor of this award, presented it.

The Cameroonian film Le Président, by Jean-Pierre Bekolo, was awarded with the Cordoba, City Of Solidarity Award, a prize for the best film programmed as part of a Special Selection of eleven films whose themes revolve around human rights. The jury highlighted the “educational and transforming aspect of the film,” as well as its daring.

The jury has firmly stated that “selecting the winners has not been an easy task”, due to the “richness and quality of the festival programme”. According to the jury, this festival programme shows that African cinemas “know how to reinvent their regard, and due to their diversity and a powerful voice to be heard worldwide”.

The members of the jury of this tenth African Film Festival of Cordoba were Olivier Barlet, author and critic specialising in African Films, director of Africultures and Sud Planet, and president of the jury; Beatriz Leal Riesco, Art Historian, specialising in African film; and Alfonso Crespo, critic and teaching member of the Film Criticism Workshop that took place this week during the festival.

The festival officially closes its doors tomorrow, Saturday 19th of October, with repeat screenings, providing a second chance for audiences to watch the awarded films.

The African Film Festival of Cordoba-FCAT has screened, from the 11th to the 19th of October, a panoramic selection of 70 films from 32 different countries, in celebration of its tenth anniversary – a festival that aims to foster a better and more complete understanding of African realities through the cinemas.

In this tenth edition, the second one in the city, after eight years in Tarifa (Cadiz), Cordoba (FCAT) has cemented its place as the only festival platform in Spanish speaking Europe, showcasing cinemas from Africa and the Middle East.

FCAT Cordoba is organised by the NGOD Al Tarab with the sponsorship of the City Council of Cordoba, Magtel Corp. and Instituto Halal.