Journalist Timo Sipola and the VK trainee Maikki Salmivaara visited the eleventh edition of the international film festival of Ouidah.

Film Festival Quintessence, initiative of the Paris-based Beninese director Jean Odoutan, took place between 8th and 13th of January 2013. In addition to the four canvases of Ouidah, movies were projected simultaneously in Cotonou, Parakou and Porto Novo.

Festival showed films from all over the world, but even though it took place in the African continent, African films – unfortunately – did not present the majority of the films. Neither were there many Beninese films on the program. ”L’enfer est ici” by Thierry Gildas Kobiane (Benin) was shown in Cotonou and also Mali was quite well represented, but most of the films came from France and Belgium.

Benin’s neighbours Burkina Faso and Nigeria (with it’s famous Nollywood) have important movie industries and in Benin directors such as Jean Odoutan or actresses like Eliane Chagas are quite well known, but the sixth art form still doesn’t occupy too important a place in the Beninese cultural scene. Even in Cotonou, there are no cinemas with regular shows. In this light Villa Karo’s projections seem to be a bright spot, a very rare but welcomed exception in the rule. But also in Villa Karo more African films are needed!

Watch here the trailer to Odoutan’s latest film, ”Pim Pim Tché – Toast de Vie” (2010), starring Eliane Chagas.