Fanta Régina Nacro
             Burkina Faso

Originally published in Sisters of the Screen: Women of Africa on Film Video and Television. Africa World Press, Trenton, NJ,  2000.

Interview and press conference held at FESPACO, February 1997, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  Translated from French.

Fanta, you have the distinction of being the first woman of Burkina Faso to do a fiction film.  Could you talk about how you became interested in filmmaking?

It was quite by chance.  When I was younger, I liked cinema quite a bit.  I had a neighbor who knew about a film school in Burkina, and since I was very interested in films, I asked her for more information and she told me about INAFEC (Institut Africain d'Education Cinématographique). I studied at the film school for three years.  As I continued my courses, I realized that I was interested in directing.  However, the curriculum required that the students first learn scriptwriting and editing, and then work with an assistant director before learning to direct.  Thus, I did a bit of everything before doing my first short film.

Your first short film, Un certain matin, received several prizes, the Tanit d'Or for short film at Carthage in 1992, the Licorne d'Or at Amiens also in 1992, the First Prize Air Afrique in Milan in 1993, and Special Mention in Montreal, also in 1993.  Could you talk a bit about this film?

It was a glimpse into the life of a peasant in Burkina.  He wakes up one morning and, like any other morning, he goes to the field.  However, on this morning, before going to the field, he has three bad omens; he bumps his left foot, he kills a newborn black chick, and he hears the chirping of a bird that sings off-key.  He then asks himself, "What is going to happen to me today?"

While he is working in the field, he hears a young girl crying for help. He looks around and notices a man with an axe who is about to kill the young girl.  He thinks, "There is not a moment to lose," he then picks up his rifle and shoots him.  The madman falls to the ground, he is covered with blood.  We then hear someone say "Cut!"  In fact, it was a production shoot and these two people were the actors in the film.  Since he had never seen a production shoot and the crew was hidden on a hill, he could not imagine that these were actors.  He actually thought that the girl was in danger.  So, the film is about this story.

Read the entire interview