South African helmer Zola Maseko’s “Drum” scooped the top prize March 5 at Fespaco, Africa’s most prestigious film fest.
“Drum” is the first South African pic to win the Golden Stallion of Yennenga and the first English-lingo winner since 1989.
Pic follows a reporter in Johannesburg in the 1950s who clashes with the apartheid regime. Taye Diggs plays journo Henry Nxumalo.
Runner-up Silver Stallion went to Moroccan pic “La chambre noire,” directed by Hassan Benjelloun. Bronze Stallion went to Burkina Faso director Daniel Kollosanou for his comedy “Tasuma le feu.”
Maseko’s triumph earns the helmer a $20,000 check.
The Paul Robeson Award for African diaspora filmmakers from the Americas and the Caribbean was won by American Lisa Gay Hamilton for “Beah: A Black Woman Speaks.”
Fespaco is nicknamed the African Cannes and despite the fact there is only one cinema in the Burkinabe capital of Ouagadougou, the locals are renowned movie enthusiasts.
This year’s fest was marred by two deaths due to the crush of the crowd at the Feb. 26 opening ceremony, where 45,000 watched Malian singer Salif Keita perform.