Chahid Al Hafed (refugee camps), April 8, 2014 (SPS) – Saharawi Minister of Culture Mrs. Khadija Hamdi declared on Monday that the 14th edition of the International Film Festival in Western Sahara (FiSahara), to be celebrated in the Wilaya of Dajla from 29 April until 4 May 2014, will honor the African and international freedom fighter, Madiba Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.
During the meeting of the Council of Ministers, Mrs. Khadija Hamdi said that FiSahara 2014 will be held this year under the slogan “Cinema for Human Rights”, adding that South Africa will be the guest of honor of this year’s festival.
Several other ceremonies, including the local festival of culture and folk arts, expected to take place in parallel with the aforementioned event.
Born on 18 July 1918, Nelson Mandela was a renowned South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician, who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
On 5 December 2013, Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95.
The Programme of the 11th edition of the International Film Festival in Western Sahara, known as FiSahara, that will take place in the Wilaya of Dajla, Saharawis refugee camps, from 29th April to 4th May 2014 was announced in London by the organizers.
In a press release issued FiSahara 2014 organising team, Javier Bardem, Julie Christie and Ken Loach joined human rights campaigners in welcoming the programme for FiSahara 2014 and inviting members of the press, film industry and public to attend the event.
Taking place from 29th April to 4th May 2014, the festival will feature a special tribute to late South African leader Nelson Mandela, stated the statement.
“Unlike most things planted in the desert, the FiSahara film festival has taken root and continues to grow and flourish,» said Spanish Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem, who attended FiSahara in 2008, adding that this year’s edition «demonstrates that the festival is increasingly attracting great films and great film-makers from around the world. In so doing the festival sends a signal to our political leaders that this crisis that can no-longer be ignored.»
Bardem also highlighted that FiSahara 2014 “sends a signal to the UN that human rights in occupied Western Sahara must finally be monitored. And it sends a signal to the Saharawi refugees that despite their isolation, they have not been forgotten.”
“FiSahara is a film festival like none other and this year’s programme includes an impressive array of films including two Oscar-nominated documentaries,” unerlined Ken Loach, a long-time supporter of FiSahara who cannot attend this year, adding that it “not only offers a unique culturaland educational experience for all who participate but also offers the Saharawi refugees, exiled from their native Western Sahara for almost four decades, a glimpse of what lies beyond their desiccated desert horizons. I encourage everyone to attend.”
“The FiSahara film festival is a remarkable form of solidarity with an oppressed and dispossessed people who have been forgotten by the international community for nearly four decades,” indicated the veteran human rights activist Peter Tatchell, confirming that it “not only helps to raise awareness of a grave injustice but also empowers the Saharawi to tell their own story through film by leaving a lasting legacy of film-making skills and equipment in the camps.”
This year’s programme includes a series of films on social justice. It consists of over 30 films from around the world, designed to inspire and inform, including documentaries to animations, short films to blockbusters. Oscar-nominated films Dirty Wars and The Square (Al Midan) will both be screened, with David Riker, screenwriter for Dirty Wars facilitating one of the many workshops.
Other programme highlights include A World Not Ours about life in refugee camp in Lebanon, Argentinian 3-D comedy-animation Foosball, and Palestine’s first ever 3-D animated movie, The Scarecrow.
The festival will also offer its trademark Saharawi-themed section with films dedicated to the Western Sahara, some made by students from FiSahara’s film school. A number of films about Nelson Mandela, including Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, will also be shown. Mandela was a friend to the Saharawis people and spoke strongly in support of their “efforts to achieve the freedom and self-determination that are rightfully theirs.”
Cultural activities will include concerts, craft fairs, audio-visual workshops and as part of this year’s youth-focused program activities using hip-hop, graffiti and videogames. (SPS)