The African Film Library of Ouagadougou was created in 1989 on the occasion of the commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of FESPACO. Created at the initiative of African filmmakers who have been thinking about it since 1973 through conferences and professional meetings, this african film library aims to safeguard Africa’s film heritage. It meets the expectations of filmmakers and men of culture, concerned with the safeguarding of Africa’s cultural heritage.
The african film library of Ouagadougou is a public institution of the State, under the supervision of the FESPACO and affiliated to the International Film Federation (FIAF) since 1994.
Forty copies of films were the first archives of the film library. Today, it has a modern center for the conservation of works (a functional center since 1995), where more than a thousand works are processed and stored: documentaries, fiction, news, feature films and short films representative of the cinematography of all the regions of Africa.
– News films:
The film archives of the national television of Burkina were recovered, identified, cleaned and stored in the cells of conservation. Four hundred 16mm coils, almost abandoned, were saved in 1998.
They represent the socio-economic and political history of Burkina Faso from the 1960s to the 1970s.
– The films of the colonial period:
The films of this period are important, as they are the only images of Africa in the first half of the 20th century. The african films library has twenty or so, with production periods ranging from the 1920s to the 1950s.
Film restoration equipment
– Didactic films:
The collection of the film library also includes educational films. Most of these works date back to the 1960s. They were produced by governments and dealt with different themes such as: agriculture, health, citizenship, … for the largely illiterate populations.
– African author films:
The films of authors collected are fairly representative of African cinematography, from the Maghreb to West Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa. A significant number of copies of works were collected in 1988.
The African film library also has almost all the films of some famous authors such as Sembene Ousmane and some countries like Burkina Faso and Gabon.
– Other films:
The rest of the collection consists of about twenty Cuban films and some classics of French and European cinema.
The African film library does not have a laboratory, but the necessary equipment for small restoration works on the copies of used films: physical analysis of the copies, repair of the perforations, dry cleaning of the reels of film. Services in this area are regularly granted to professionals, film clubs, etc.
Copies of films are kept in specially designed rooms where the temperature and humidity are strictly controlled. An air conditioning production system keeps the temperature inside the cells between 15 ° C and 20 ° C with relative humidity between 30% and 40%.
Important non-film material related to African cinema has been collected. A very diverse documentation center is available to the public for consultation. This center has a background of more than 6,000 photos, more than 500 movie posters, several thousand news articles, trade journals, press reviews, film press kits, books, scripts, and more.
The film library has already opened its collections to many students, teachers, researchers and film professionals. Students came from Africa, Europe and America to see films, do research and meet resource people, as part of their dissertations or graduation theses. Access to the collections is conditioned by a reasoned request.
The African library also has several mobile film and video units, as well as qualified staff for organizing film screenings in Burkina towns and villages. These non-profit screenings are done in partnership with NGOs, associations, schools and other public and private institutions.
Construction project of the African film library of Ouagadougou
Apart from these projections, FESPACO works for the promotion of African cinema in international festivals. The institution also organizes various film events: film week, major film premieres, etc.
The African library of Ouagadougou has been a member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) since 1994. It has been twinned with the CNC / France film archives since 1995. Like other members of the FIAF, the African library contributes to the promotion of film archives through common activities such as:
– FIAF training courses in London in 1992 and 1996;
– The programming of films in Amsterdam in 1996 and Paris in 2000;
– The FIAF congress in Jerusalem in 1996.
THE PROJECTS OF THE CINEMATHEQUE
The African Film Library of Ouagadougou plans to strengthen the collection of films to have a filmography by country and locate the negatives of African films mostly scattered in European laboratories.
She also plans:
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE AFRICAN FILM LIBRARY OF OUAGADOUGOU
The film library of Ouagadougou undoubtedly, ensures the cinema of the continent a permanent visibility and stimulates reflection and endogenous research on African cinema.
In addition, it contributes to a better knowledge of the contemporary history of Africa, through the scientific consultations of the old films and is a source of inspiration for the professionals of the cinema and the audio-visual one.
Finally, the Ouagadougou African film library participates in the film education of the public, through regular retrospective programs and the organization of various exhibitions.