Somali drama wins Pan-African film festival grand prize

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: Khadar Ayderus Ahmed speaks to the media at the Filmmaker Teas during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The May Fair Hotel on October 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for BFI)
LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 15: Khadar Ayderus Ahmed speaks to the media at the Filmmaker Teas during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The May Fair Hotel on October 15, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Tristan Fewings/Getty Images for BFI)

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

According to a Reuters report, the poignant drama about a gravedigger’s struggles to raise money to pay for his wife’s surgery, took home the 20 million franc CFA ($35,714) prize money and the golden stallion statue.

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

Ahmed, who was not in Ouagadougou to collect his prize, has previously said the film was inspired by incidents that happened in his family.

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

This 27th edition was postponed by nearly eight months to Oct. 16-23, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and security challenges the country is facing.

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