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The documentary “FESPACO” begins with independent African-American filmmakers declaring how they identify themselves – as “African-American”, “Black”, “Africans Living in America”; “African Diaspora”; which then leads into the introduction of the story of six filmmakers of African descent who are entering their films into competition into the largest, oldest and grandest Pan African film festival in the world – FESPACO (Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou). 

Through the eyes and mouths of filmmakers and scholars of note, we are given an oral and visual history of the film festival and its relevance to African Americans.  Then what follows is an introduction to the six films and filmmakers who will be our heroes for the story – and although this film is classified as a documentary, it is very much the narrative story of black filmmakers traveling back to Africa and the experiences they encounter as blacks, filmmakers, and human beings.  We follow the filmmakers as they tell us the story of how they made their films and how it feels to be a black independent filmmaker and what its like to make your films and then try to show them to an audience.  FESPACO is established as one of the few festivals in the world where black filmmakers can show their films to an audience that is eager to see them.

The second and third acts of the film take place in Africa at the film festival. Narrated by Danny Glover, the film delivers a look behind the scenes at the festival that is candid, political, emotional, and controversial. Through the lens of the camera, we see the huge effort it takes to successfully execute such an event, while creating awareness about the growth of the black independent cinema movement.  By the end of the film, we are left with insightful images of two cultures – African and African-Diaspora, and a knowledge of the similarities and the differences between the two and wondering what’s in store for the future.

 
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