Burkina filmfest accepts ‘Timbuktu’ despite security fears

This photo provided by Cohen Media Group shows Kettly Noel in a scene from the film, "Timbuktu," directed by Abderrahmane Sissako. (AP)

Award-winning movie “Timbuktu” exposing the brutal rule of militants in northern Mali will be in the lineup at this weekend’s prestigious African film festival Fespaco despite security fears, Burkina Faso’s culture minister said.

“The government of Burkina Faso has decided on the screening of ‘Timbuktu’,” Jean-Claude Dioma said on state radio late Friday.

The movie nominated for best foreign film at the Oscars and that days ago picked up seven awards at France’s equivalent of the Academy Awards, the Cesars, is running for the top African title, the Golden Stallion, awarded at the end of the week-long Fespaco festival.

“But along with it, security will be stepped up,” the minister said, saying authorities had evaluated the risks of showing the film.

The movie by Mauritanian director Abderrahmane Sissako shows the residents of the ancient city struggling to maintain their daily lives after the militants took over large parts of northern Mali in 2012.

Sissako expressed “consternation” after being informed of an initial decision to withdraw the film from Africa’s premier film festival.

Dioma said no specific threats had been received, but “there are threats everywhere where the Islamists think someone is hurting aspects of their faith.”

Fespaco, which was founded in 1969, is held every two years in the Burkina capital Ouagadougou, drawing at least 12,000 moviegoers.

It opens Saturday and runs until March 7 this year.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:44 - GMT 06:44