I Was There: Retrospectives and disputes

25 years on from the first Festival of African, Asian and Latin American Cinema, we are moved. We want to tell you about some moments of this adventure: the ones that made us laugh most and that moved us the most, the ones we learned from, the ones that allowed us to discover worlds and directors whose names are on everyone’s lips but were then unknown. We decided to call these good memories “I WAS THERE” and our voices are those of Annamaria Gallone and Alessandra Speciale, the two artistic directors. We invite everyone who was there, who have passed by and who crossed our paths, to join us in a collective story, perhaps the first ever by a Film Festival, by sending a message to festival@coeweb.org, including “i was there” in the subject.

every year we had a retrospective on an African country: we started from Senegal, in tribute to Ousmane Sembène, considered the father of African cinema….

Alessandra Speciale

…and Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation, which restores masterpieces from all over the world, restored Sembène’s “Borrom Sarret” (1963). The second retrospective was on Mali and we had Souleymane Cissé. Our relations with all the directors we throughout their career.

Annamaria Gallone

I remember that in 1992 – the second festival – Marco Muller was in the jury. In competition we were presenting a film about the condition of women in Kenya: “Saikati” by Anne Mungai, set in a remote village in the savannah. The director, to be able to make her film, had had to “satisfy” the tourist board which had funded it, including some very short scenes that had absolutely nothing to do with the narration: hot air balloons, safaris, animals…) Muller stood up and walked out of the cinema disgusted by the insult to the seventh art… A tragedy?

Alessandra Speciale

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