Carthage Film Festival presentation
Tahar Cheriaa: First session director
Nearly half a century after its creation by the Tunisian Ministry of Culture, the Carthage Film Festival continues its march on the same track set by its founders: Promoting films from Arab and African countries.
This biennial cultural event launched in 1966, remains to this day, the oldest film festival in the “South”. The Carthage Film Festival has overcome all kind of pitfalls and succeeded over time in being in line with changes in society and the film industry.
From the early days of the festival, its activism offered southern countries alternatives to the monopoly of distribution companies and movie operators. It gave them the opportunity to develop and distribute their own images. It evolved, expressed itself and adapted to social, political, aesthetic and technological changes.
Gaining in size and stature, the CFF has extended its opening to images from around the world, hosting works and authors from all horizons. Session after session, its programming has been enriched with new sections offering more choices to an ever increasingly demanding public.
Personalities from the arts and letters, writers, filmmakers, critics have served as jurors in various official competitions to give away the prestigious Tanit Award, named after the fertility goddess of ancient Carthage.
As a forum for passionate debate and reflection, the CFF has always contributed to an intellectual production of reference through symposiums, seminars and other meetings. Several regional professional organizations were founded in this institution including the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI) and the Union of Arab Film Critics.
In order to meet the expectations and needs of film professionals and regional actors, CFF expanded its scope of action through the founding of various support mechanisms for: project workshops, producer's network, master classes, film funding, film market …
But year after year, session after session, the real constant of the festival remains the presence of an exceptional audience of loyal and passionate movie lovers with an average of 200 000 tickets sold over a period of ten days.
Rooted in its Arab and African specificities, this meeting of filmmakers, producers, critics, moviegoers from the North and South has combined an abundance of films, the spirit of closeness between professionals and film buffs and a real sense of partying.
A visibility and meeting space for African and Arab cinema has been successfully created from the start and the festival quickly gained the reputation of a talent developer. It has enabled the discovery of generations of artists and original works reflecting the cultural and social realities of different countries, giving them a universal appeal.
The list of filmmakers revealed or confirmed by the CFF is long. Osman Sembene, Youssef Chahine, Souleymene CISSE, Nouri Bouzid, Moufida Tlatli, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Djibril DIOP Mambetty, Merzak Allouache, Nabil Ayouch and many others, went through Carthage!
This 24th session will certainly be one of those milestones that have marked the history of the CFF. In the same way the 1968 festival initiated the current philosophy and 1978 opened the festival with works of the "Third World" and was marked by militant action of associations (Tunisian Federation cine Club, Tunisian Federation of Amateur Filmmakers, Association of Tunisian Directors) in favor of a policy supportive to the production and promotion of Tunisian cinema.
This 2012 session is the first one after the major events that shook Tunisia and the Arab world since January 14, 2011. This opportunity for a clear break is also a possibility of renewal while remaining true to the spirit of the pioneering days.
The CFF in posters