Since Muammar al-Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011 during the Arab Spring uprisings in Libya, the Sahel region has struggled to regain stability. It has become the scene of assassinations and hostage-takings, a centre of the weapons and drug trade, and a refuge for Islamic terrorism. Most countries in the region, such as Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania und Chad, are also facing additional conflicts caused by, e.g. ethnic and religious differences and uncontrolled population growth. Rural poverty and land disputes are rising, while young people who lack viable perspectives are easily lured by the teachings of fundamentalist preachers.
In the period of several years, the Sahel has become a region dominated by a dangerous mix of fundamentalism, terrorism and politics. This presents an enormous challenge to political authorities and the populace which had only recently been on a promising path toward democratisation, and whose initial accomplishments are now at risk of being erased. What is remarkable, though, is the fact that cultural artists in the region are actively participating in the discussion regarding these developments. Not only do they express their anger and dismay, but also incorporate current events and interweave politics, religion and terrorism into their works.
In view of this socio-political background, toucouleur e.V. is developing a theme-based project entitled “Talking about Sahel – African Cinema between Religion, Terrorism and Politics” for presentation at the Afrikamera Film Festival in 2017. In cooperation with Wassakara Production in Abidjan and Génération Films in Ouagadougou, the festival will present a selection of feature, documentary, short and animation films by directors of various generations which explore religion, politics and human rights in the region. This year’s festival will showcase new productions and Libyan short films (“Libyan Shorts”) from the post-Gaddafi era. The programme will be supplemented by a workshop in Ouagadougou on the production conditions and strategies of filmmakers. In cooperation with the 98 Motion Design Studio and the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Berlin, the project partners will select experts for a discussion panel to be held in Berlin.
Artistic director: Alex Moussa Sawadogo (DE)
Participating artists: Daouda Coulibaly (ML), Andrey S. Diarra (ML), Alain Gomis (SN), Mahamet-Saleh Haroun (TD), Gaston Kaboré (BF), Rahmatou Keita (NE), Abderrahmane Sissako (MR), Cheick Oumar Sissoko (ML)