- Despite being the third biggest film industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood, Nigeria's Nollywood films have been absent from the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), held in Burkina Faso. Addicted lovers of Nigerian films have not been at ease about the development.
Apart from "Ezra", whose director, Newton Aduaka is based in France, no other Nigerian film hit the screens in the prestigious Ouagadougou festival.
A Nigerian filmmaker, Mahmoud Balogun attributed the reason to discrimination because the event is packaged in such a way that it does not favour Nollywood.
FESPACO Executive, Baba Hamma, defended that Nollywood films do not pass their standard test simply because of differences in how they tell stories.
He said the festival is for films that are recorded on 35 mm, a totally different style Nollywood uses.
Mr Hamma added that Nollywood films are not subtitled, which is why its films are not meant for the Francophone countries.
Other African filmmakers are taking full advantage of the Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the capital of Burkina Faso, to showcase their potentials in film making.
Considered as the largest and most important African film festival, the annual event, which opened last week at Ouagadougou's soccer stadium, attracted thousands of people. It is ironical for most people to see local film lovers brushing shoulders with Western tourists to watch films that portray the realities in African.
Showing the best of African cinema, a culture which is rapidly fading in the continent, film directors focused on topics such as African village life, illegal immigration, child soldiers, war, among others.
The Guinean film director of "Code Phenix", Boubakar Diallo, said Africans recognise themselves in the films because their own stories have been told.
With all the popularity they have amassed among the Burkinabe people, film directors that still are grappling with a lot of problems in the continent, find it uneasy to turn their films into money.
Besides the fading out of cinema culture in most African countries, filmmakers in the continent also grapple with so many problems to survive. This includes frictions with politicians for making films that threaten their interest and censorship by the state-owned media that are most under-funded.
Africa does not only have huge filmmaking potentials, but it is also endowed with a large market.
However, the greatest challenge to those engaged in the film business is how to break all the hurdles along the way so as to turn their products into money in their own countries.
Most filmmakers confessed that they are yet to grab the market of both Africa and the West.
Nigeria's film industry, on the other hand, is a unique example in Africa. Africa's most populous country's Nollywood has continued to be a hot cake in Africa and even beyond. Apart from Hollywood and Bollywood, Nollywood is ranked second to no other film industry in the world when it comes to productivity.
Because they are sold on VCD and mostly in Anglophone countries, the popular Nollywood films have not been on showcased in Ouagadougou, where most of the displayed films were jointly funded by European donors and television channels.
While an Anglophone country like Nigeria is making a breakthrough, one wonders what countries in the Francophone part of Africa are doing so that their products hit the local and international markets.
Foreign distributors provide answers to the question, arguing that for their films to become palatable to the Western audience, they must not be too political.
Nouri Bouzid, whose "Making-off" won The Golden Tanit in the last Carthage Film Festival in Tunis, has his film included in the full length feature competition. Mr Nouri's film is among 20 Tunisian films at the Ouagadougou festival.
Tunisia, a French speaking country, is endowed with vast potentials and experience in short-length film production, which observers say should be tapped by the rest of Africa.
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