Somali Drama Wins Grand Prize in Pan African Film Festival

Somalia’s entry “The Gravedigger’s Wife” by Finish-Somali writer-director , Khadar Ayderus Ahmed has won the prestigious Stallion of Yennenga grand prize for best film at the Pan-African film festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The 20 million franc CFA ($35,714) prize money and the golden stallion statue were awarded in the tale of a gravedigger’s struggles to secure funds to pay for his wife’s surgery.

The film, which was Somalia’s first official entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 2021 Academy Awards, premiered at Cannes Film Festival in July.

Scene from “The Gravedigger’s Wife” by Khadar Ayderus Ahmed, winner of the Étalon de Yennenga at Fespaco 2021

Mauritanian film director Abderrahmane Sissako said it was a brave film from a nation that doesn’t make dozens of films so when there is a film like this one from there, it should be encouraged.

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The Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, also known as Fespaco, is the world’s largest biannual gathering of African cinema, which attracts international and African film and television professionals from the continent and the diaspora to the Burkinabe capital.

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic and security challenges, this 27th edition was postponed by nearly eight months to Oct. 16-23, 2021.

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