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. It is the only film festival in the world taking place in a refugee camp. 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 and Pedro Almodóvar. 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.
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 given to Morocco and Mauritania by the Spanish when they withdrew in 1976. The Moroccans subsequently annexed the entire territory in 1979, in defiance of a ruling from the International Court of Justice. A sixteen-year war ensued between the Moroccans and the native 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 Morocco. In the meantime an estimated 165,000 refugees continue to live in four large camps in the inhospitable Algerian desert.
Home to around 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.
White Camel winners
The White Camel (Arabic: الإبل الأبيض) is the festival's highest prize, awarded for the best film by election of the spectators. 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 and a desert rose.
|Date and Year||Film||Director||Country of origin||Guest country or continent|
|20–23 November 2003||The Living Forest||Ángel de la Cruz and Manolo Gómez||Spain|
|3–6 March 2005||Madame Brouette||Moussa Sene Absa||Canada / Senegal / France|
|5–9 April 2006||The Story of the Weeping Camel||Byambasuren Davaa and Luigi Farloni||Germany / Mongolia||Cuba|
|10–15 April 2007||Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest||Michel Ocelot||France / Belgium / Spain / Italy||Africa|
|17–20 April 2008||It's a Free World...||Ken Loach||United Kingdom|
|5–10 May 2009||Che: Part 2||Steven Soderbergh||Spain / France / United States||Algeria|
|26 April-2 May 2010||The Problem||Jordi Ferrer and Pablo Vidal||Spain||South Africa|
|2–8 May 2011||Entrelobos||Gerardo Olivares||Spain / Germany||Venezuela|
|1–6 May 2012||Sons of the Clouds: The Last Colony||Alvaro Longoria||Spain||Mexico|
|8–13 October 2013||Mayibuye I||Milly Moabl||South Africa||United States|
- Objective FiSahara Donostia.org - 24-page book about the FiSahara, with texts by Juan Carlos Izagirre, Eduardo Galeano, Paul Laverty, Javier Corcuera, Javier Bardem and others.
- SÁHARA OCCIDENTAL: LA REVOLUCIÓN DEL CINE O EL CINE DE LA REVOLUCIÓN by David Bollero Real (Spanish)
- Prospect Magazine - Blogs Preview of 6th FISahara
- Comienza 'Fisahara 2008', el único festival de cine en un campo de refugiados El Mundo, 18 April 2008 (Spanish)
- Roape Article
- Holly Meadows (11-04-2012). "FiSahara: The World’s Most Remote Film Festival". Blog.africageographic.com. Retrieved 17-12-2012.
- Stefan Simanowitz (13 May 2010). "FiSahara: Film Festival in the Desert". The Guardian.
- The Riddle of the Sands: How a refugee camps set up an international film festival Stefan Simanowitz, The Independent, 15 May 2009
- Me gusta el Sáhara, me gustas tú Cine entre las dunas - El País.com, 23 April 2008 (Spanish)
- Festival Internacional de Cine del Sahara (FiSahara) 2009 Radiochango.com (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)
- Objective Fisahara: Twinning between the San Sebastian Human Rights Film Festival and the Sahara International Film Festival, seen in pictures and first-hand accounts Donostia.org
- Additional festival events Festivalsahara.com