Young people choose their winning film at FESPACO
Ouagadougou, 9 March 2011 – Three young jury members have selected Algerian director Abdelkrim Bahloul’s film Journey to Algiers as the winner of the United Nations prize for the Promotion of Child Rights in the Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO). The 22nd FESPACO took place in the capital of Burkina Faso from 26 February to 5 March 2011.
The jury chose the winning film from twenty films which were eligible for the award based on the following criteria - contribution of the film in promoting child rights; originality; cinematography, sound and make-up; and portrayal of the responsibility of parents, society and the Government in respecting and promoting child rights.
Hanaa Priscille Ouédraogo, president of the jury, is an 18-year-old student who will soon start university. She explains why the jury decided the film was a winner :
Journey to Algiers tells the moving story of a young mother of six children whose husband is killed during the Algerian war of independence. The family loses everything and the mother struggles to look after her children. However, she learns that a French civil servant, who has left Algeria to return to France, has donated his house to her family.
When a member of the newly formed Algerian government tries to evict the woman and her family from the house, she decides to travel to the Algerian capital with her eldest son to take her case to the highest authorities in the country, in order to secure a better future for her children.
This child-focused plot struck a cord with all the jury members.
“The film responded to the criteria on the promotion of child rights. We saw a mother determined to defend her children’s rights, with a son who is very mature and aware of his rights. It was also funny in some parts,” Hanaa explains.
The UNICEF Representative in Burkina Faso, Hervé Périès joined Hanaa in presenting the award to the Ambassador of Algeria, who accepted the prize on behalf of the film director.
FESPACO is Africa’s largest and longest running film festival. The United Nations prize for the Promotion of Child Rights has been awarded since FESPACO began. It provides an opportunity for children and young people to be involved in the festival, and raises awareness on child rights issues at the core of UNICEF’s mandate.