Sahara International Film Festival
|Sahara International Film Festival
Festival de Cine del Sáhara
الصحراء السينمائي الدولي
|Location||Wilaya of Dakhla, Sahrawi refugee camps, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic / Algeria|
The Sahara International Film Festival, also known as FISahara, is an annual event which takes place in the Sahrawi refugee camps, at the South West corner of Algeria, near the border with Western Sahara. The first three years the festival was held alternately in the Wilaya of Smara, Wilaya of Ausserd and Wilaya of El Aaiun, but since 2007 the FISahara had stayed in the Wilaya of Dakhla. The event is backed by the Polisario Front, but largely organised and funded by donors from Spain, the former colonial power in Western Sahara, attracting support from Spanish film celebrities as Penélope Cruz, Pedro Almodóvar, Luis Tosar, Victoria Abril or Javier Bardem. This Festival is an initiative to bring film as an entertainment and cultural form to the thousands of Sahrawis whose community has lived for more than thirty years in relative isolation in the Algerian desert, being the only film festival in the world taking place in a refugee camp. The first festival was in large part organised by Peruvian film director Javier Corcuera. Typically, Spanish movies dominate the Festival. The director of the top film will be awarded a white camel.
The festival has the two-fold aim of providing cultural entertainment and educational opportunities to refugees, and of raising awareness of the plight of the Sahrawi people, who have been exiled from their native western Sahara for more than three decades. Western Sahara, “Africa’s last colony,” was sold to Morocco and Mauritania by the Spanish when they withdrew in 1976. The Moroccans subsequently annexed the entire territory in defiance of a ruling from the International Court of Justice. A sixteen-year war ensued between the Moroccans and the Sahrawi independence movement, the Polisario Front. Under the terms of a 1991 UN ceasefire agreement, a referendum for self-determination was promised, but has been blocked by the Morocco. In the meantime an estimated 165,000 refugees continue to live in four large camps in the inhospitable Algerian desert.
Home to nearly 30,000 refugees, Dakhla is the most remote of the camps, located 175 km away from the nearest city, Tindouf. It has no electricity or paved roads and is dependent on outside supplies of food and water. At the end of the festival, a popular jury awards the best picture the White Camel.
White Camel winners
The White Camel (Arabic: الإبل الأبيض) is the festival's highest prize, awarded for the best film. It consists on a white female camel, which is traditionally donated to the refugee family who had hosted the actors or director of the winner film during the festival. Instead, the winners take with them home a trophy depicting a white camel.
|Year||Film||Director||Country of origin||Guest country|
|2005||Madame Brouette||Moussa Sene Absa||Canada/ Senegal/ France|
|2006||The Story of the Weeping Camel||Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Farloni||Germany/ Mongolia||Cuba|
|2007||Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest||Michel Ocelot||France/ Belgium/ Spain/ Italy|
|2008||It's a Free World...||Ken Loach||United Kingdom|
|2009||Che: Part 2||Steven Soderbergh||Spain/ France/ United States||Algeria|
|2010||The Problem||Jordi Ferrer and Pablo Vidal||Spain||South Africa|
|2011||Entrelobos||Gerardo Olivares||Spain/ Germany||Venezuela|
|2012||Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony||Alvaro Longoria||Spain||Mexico|
- Prospect Magazine - Blogs Preview of 6th FISahara
- Roape Article
- Holly Meadows (11-04-2012). "FiSahara: The World’s Most Remote Film Festival". Blog.africageographic.com. Retrieved 17-12-2012.
- Algeria Website
- Comienza 'Fisahara 2008', el único festival de cine en un campo de refugiados El Mundo, 18 April 2008 (Spanish)
- Macaco actuará en la clausura del VI Festival Internacional de Cine Del Sahara (FiSAHARA) Macaco.es, 7 May 2009 (Spanish)
- Ivan Ferreiro corona el desierto El Mundo, 3 May 2010 (Spanish)
- El Chojin en FISAHARA 2011 Elchojin.net, 12 April 2011 (Spanish)
- El Canijo de Jerez y Tomasito en el Festival de Cine del Sahara Inzona.es, 1 May 2012 (Spanish)