The Carthage Film Festival reputed to be oldest film festival on the African continent opened last Friday at the Tunisian capital of Tunis.
The biannual October film festival, also known as JournĂ©es CinĂ©matographiques de Carthage (JCC) which will run till Saturday, November 18, 2006 is billed to feature, on a daily basis, about 35 films in different categories ranging from official selection, video, panorama, international section and other categories. The theme for the festival is: Cultural Diversity.
On Sunday, the third day of the festival, more than 90 films have been shown. Same day, there was a session which focused on films from South Korea, and a special homage session as a mark honour to Egyptian writer and Nobel laureate Najib Mahfoudh, who died on August 30, 2006.
The 2006 edition of the Catharge Festival, which is the 40th version, has witnessed increased participation by the volume of films submitted and the number of international participants from different parts of the globe, especially Europe. Sultanate of Oman and Saudi Arabia are also taking part for the first time. In an effort to increase the public's awareness of American and Asian movies, several feature films from Peru, Brazil, Argentina but also China, Afghanistan, India and Indonesia, will be shown to the public.
The French -German television company "ARTE" will take part in the event with 7 long feature movies and three video films. Arte plans to also organize and broadcast encounters and round table debates with film makers and critics. The Federation of International Film Critics is well represented here, while the Moderator of African Film Forum, Tunde Oladunjoye, is representing the body headquartered in Nigeria
The festival was created in 1966 by the Tunisian Ministry of Culture to showcase films from the Maghreb, Africa, and the Middle East. Tanit d'or, or "Golden Tanit," is the festival's Grand Prize named after the lunar goddess of ancient Carthage; the award is in the shape of her symbol, a trapezium sumrounted by a horizontal line and a circle.
There will be though competition for the coveted prize this year. It is therefore to the credit of the festival organisers that a high-calibre jury has been put in place. The seven-member strong jury is made of Elies Khouri (Lebanon), Ramsis Marzouk (Egypt), Mohamed Asli (Morocco), Mrs Regina Fanta Nacro (Burkina Faso), Serge Sobczynki (France), Rokhaya Niang (Senegal), and Hend Sabri (Tunisia).
Previous winners of the Tanit d'or include; 1992: La nuit (Mohamed Malas, Syria), 1994: Les silences du palais (Moufida Tlatli, Tunisia), 1996: Salut cousin (Merzak Allouache, Algeria), 1998: Vivre au paradis (Bourlem Guerdjou, Algeria), 2000: DolĂ© (Imunga Ivanga, Gabon), 2002: Le prix du pardon (Mansour Sora Wade, Senegal), and 2004: A Casablanca, les anges ne volent pas (Mohamed Asli, Morocco).