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Eighth Pan African Film Festival opens in Accra 7/16/2007
Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation has called for a new breed of film and television professionals who should be equipped with the requisite knowledge and skills to prosecute the development agenda of African countries.

“Africa''s future depended on the harnessing and utilisation of its resources for social mobilisation, promotion of Africa''s cultural values and economic integration.

"The teachers and students of our film and television training centres must appreciate that Africa''s future does not depend on unnecessary partisan politics but on the harnessing and utilisation of our resources for social mobilisation, promotion of Africa''s cultural values and economic development and integration," Mr Bartels stated.

Mr Bartels stated this at the opening of the eighth edition of the Pan-African Student Film and Television Festival, dubbed: "ANIWA Africa 2007".

The biennial two-week festival organised by the National Film and Television Institute of Ghana (NAFTI) starts from July 9th to July 21st is under the general theme: "Championing African Excellence Through Film and Television."

Hundreds of students, lecturers and professionals in the film sector from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, and The Gambia.

Mr Bartels said the choice of the theme was to remind cinema and television professionals of the need to shift emphasis to the production of materials that would enable them to overcome superstition, ethnicity, civil strife, fear, violence and other negative cultural practices that undermined the Continent''s search for development.

He said most people in recent times had expressed reservation and disquiet about the quality and content of films being shown on the screens and in theatres.

"The effect on our children and youth is clearly damaging our cultural fabric. Unbridled application of digital technology in the creation of negative images is quite worrying."

The Minister, therefore, urged the participants to use the festival to learn new technologies that would support production of materials that would promote health, eliminate poverty and sustain Africa''s cultural values.

He said a new Film Development and Classification Act that Ghana was in the process of finalizing was expected to promote national integration, cohesion and development.

Mr Martin Loh, Director of NAFTI, said the festival was to bring together teachers, students and professionals to acquire new knowledge and share experience and skills.

He said film training was very expensive and had, therefore, suffered budgetary problems over the years.

Mr Loh said ANIWA had gained international recognition as a major student film and TV event in Africa and must be sustained.

He, therefore, urged African regional groupings such as the African Union and New Partnership for Africa''s Development (NEPAD) ECOWAS with other international development partners to support film and television institutions with resources for they held the key to development.

Jim Awindor, Festival Co-ordinator, said Africa''s image had been represented in a way that most Africans themselves did not understand, hence the organisation of ANIWA to help restore Africa''s lost image within the international community.

Ghana and Nigeria shares laurels at African film festival.

Mr. Bill Kwabena Marshall former Director of NAFTI chaired the opening ceremony.

Source: GNA

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