Rwandan film Father’s Day by Kivu Ruhorahoza wins FCAT 2023 Best Fiction Feature Film Award

The winning film receives three awards including Best Actress and Best Actor

Au Cimetière de la pellicule (The Cemetery of Cinema), by Thierno Souleymane Diallo wins the ACERCA Spanish Cooperation Award and Sous le figues (Under the Fig Trees) wins the Audience Award

Tarifa, 5 May 2023. A 100% African-produced film has won the Best Fiction Feature Film Award at the 20th edition of the Tarifa-Tangier African Film Festival (FCAT). Father’s Day, by Rwandan director Kivu Ruhorahoz, breaks with the tradition of African cinema co-produced by European countries, as his film is produced exclusively in Rwanda. For years, FCAT has been working to stop this dynamic in order to put films made on the southern continent, or at least part of it, on the road to financial emancipation from the West.

Father’s Day is a story about loss and the different meanings of fatherhood by an established and innovative director of African cinema who also trains and produces new talents. For the international jury – composed by director Philippa Ndisi-Hermann, African film expert Léa Baron and Afro-descendant actress Beatriz Mbula – “The film’s sensitivity is evident in its writing, mise-en-scène and direction of actors. Kivu Ruhorahoza’s incredibly well thought-out colour, music and framing serve the narrative. Exploring the fragility and strength of human relationships, this film reminds us of the importance of resilience and love through the relationship of a boy and his father on the streets of Kigali, as well as the meeting of two unknown women who will save each other.”

The jury awarded a Special Mention for Best Fiction Feature Film to Angela Wanjiku Wamai’s Shimoni (Kenya, 2022). “For its eloquence and courage in addressing child sexual abuse and femicide. With great mastery in her mise-en-scène and editing, Angela Wamai offers the spectator an overwhelming and definitely hypnotic debut film.”

The Casa África Film Award for Best Documentary was given to Coconut Head Generation, by Alain Kassanda (France, Nigeria, 2022), a director who has visited us in this edition of the FCAT. The jury argued that “each character in this film is a hero, overcoming difficult challenges in search of a better life for themself and their country. Controversial discussions around various issues, such as women’s rights and LGBTQI rights, are present in a captivating, inspiring and moving documentary, whose subject matter is not only relevant to Nigeria, but also to Africa and the world at large. Alain Kassanda offers us a refreshing narrative structure”.

The jury awarded a Special Mention for Best Feature Documentary to Au cimetièrie de la pellicule, by Thierno Souleymane Diallo (Guinea-Conakry, Saudi Arabia, France, Senegal, 2022), who has also been in Tarifa these days to present his film. “Diallo sets himself up as the protagonist, inviting us to accompany him on his determined journey through Guinea and then to France in search of the first film from his country, Guinea-Conakry. We appreciate that he not only reminds us of the importance of projecting and preserving alternative narratives, but also invites us to question the veracity of the history of cinema told by those who hold the power”.

The acting awards also went to the winning film, Father’s Day. On the one hand to its actress, Mediatrice Kayitesi, “for an unsettling performance that travels through a dignified solemnity and bewilderment at the loss of a child. A maternal vulnerability in reconciliation with death. This actress is capable of embracing the responsibility of the paternal role in the skin of a mother in mourning, who comes back to value being a free woman”.

Likewise, his actor Cedric Ishimwe has won the acting award for Father’s day, “for the poignant and touching moments that revealed him as a multi-faceted actor; confident and kind, as well as resilient despite his father’s mental and physical abuse”.


The Jury of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) has awarded the ACERCA Spanish Cooperation Award. Elvira Cámara, the head of the Cultural Activities Area of the AECID’s Directorate of Cultural and Scientific Relations has chaired the Jury. They have decided to award the IV ACERCA Spanish Cooperation Award to the documentary Au cimetière de la pellicule (The Cemetery of Cinema), by Thierno Souleymane Diallo (Saudi Arabia, France, Guinea Conakry and Senegal, 2023), “for its originality and remarkable artistic quality, and for highlighting the undeniable role played by collective memory, through film and the recovery and preservation of film archives as a manifestation of the cultural traits of a community, in the recognition and enhancement of the identity of peoples and the common heritage of countries.”

The Jury also decided to give a special mention to the Tunisian co-production Sous les figues (Under the Fig Trees), by the film director Erige Sehiri, “for its excellent portrayal of community life, of relations between different generations, between men and women, between tradition and modernity”.

The award-winning film contributes to the dissemination of the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda, including the key contribution of cultural diversity and the preservation of cultural heritage (SDG 11) in the achievement of people-centred development, favouring the construction of more cohesive and inclusive communities and societies, knowledgeable about their past (SDG 16), as well as ensuring quality and inclusive education for all (SDG 4). The Tunisian film was highlighted for its contribution to SDG 5 in relation to the empowerment of all women and girls.

The ACERCA award was born from the collaboration between the Directorate of Cultural Relations of the AECID and the Tarifa African Film Festival with the aim of strengthening the existing audiovisual space between Spain and Africa, as well as raising awareness in society in terms of human rights and sustainable development. Since the creation of this award in 2020, it has been awarded to the film that best contributes to the dissemination of the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda, the eradication of poverty and the full exercise of human rights.


The jury awarding the prizes for the ‘Shortly’ section was composed by Sonia López Truyo (cultural manager, CICUS), Blanca Rey (producer and cultural manager) and Inmaculada Marrero (executive secretary of the Euro-Arab Foundation). The Best Short Film Award went to Jua Kali, by Joash Omandi (Kenya, 2022). “For the narrative ability of this story with hardly any words. For its success in allowing us to discover moments of the everyday life of the different social classes in today’s Kenya, a denunciation of a Kenyan reality that reaches us all because of its indisputable universality. For its marvellous paintings, still lifes full of colour and a play of chiaroscuro. Its hypnotic editing, and the addictive rhythm achieved by following the routines of the characters”.

The jury awarded a Special Mention for best short film to Terra Mater, by Kantarama Gahigiri (Rwanda, Switzerland, 2023), “for its powerful and highly effective images, which throw the message in the viewer’s face, without palliatives or the need for intermediaries. For the importance of the environmental warning call, and its link to inequality; and for highlighting the unfortunate global nature of the problem, denounced in the words of the indigenous American judge Abby Abinanti. For the spectacular apocalyptic atmosphere achieved through the art direction. For choosing this subject, so often dealt with in the documentary genre, and turn it into a piece full of beauty, without losing its meaning and harshness”.


The FCAT LAB jury, the festival’s post-production workshop, composed by Paz Piñar (head of Canal Sur’s film department), Rafael García (CEO of Laserfilms) and Andreas Rothbauer (founder and co-CEO of Picture Tree International) has awarded the Prize to Disco Afrika, by Luck Razanajaona (Madagascar), with €2000 in cash offered by FCAT. The winning film will be selected for future editions of the Tarifa-Tangier African Film Festival.

The La Colorá prize went to Kasozi Heights, by Emokor Eric (Uganda), with the colour correction service valued at €5,500, to be distributed over 10 working days – 2 of which will be used for conforming and the remaining 8 for colour, ending with the delivery of a high quality Quicktime.

The Tres Gatos Sonido Award also went to Kasozi Heights, by Emokor Eric (Uganda), with €5000 for the sound editing and sound mixing of a feature film (up to 10 days of work, sound mixer included).

The Laserfilm Award goes to Disco Afrika, from Luck Razanajaona (Madagascar), with up to €5000 for the translation and localisation of subtitles in English, French and Spanish, creation of a package of international distribution material, including the creation of a localisation list and a DCP master.

The Tomahawk Digital Cinema Services S.L. Award goes to Aurora by Djakis Diarra (Ivory Coast) with €2500 for the creation of a package of international distribution material, including the creation of a DCP master.

The Bienza Translations Award goes to Sitabaomba, by Lova Nantenaina (Madagascar) with up to €2500 for the translation and localisation of subtitles in one language (to be chosen between Spanish, English, French or Italian) of a feature film and a 30% discount for the translation and localisation of subtitles in a second language (to be chosen between Spanish, English, French or Italian).

The FCAT LAB jury argued that Kasozi Heights “impresses with an innovative and genre-bending approach that combines elements of a dark human thriller with a new African reality”. Disco Afrika “is a story of reconciliation, connecting the past with political awareness through a young man’s family history and the power of a continent’s music”. Aurora “is a story of resilience that will benefit from international exposure to live up to greater visibility” and finally Sitabaomba “is an important Malagasy document linked to its oral traditions that, with the support of internationalisation, will inspire audiences beyond its cultural sphere”.


To conclude, the TV5Monde Audience Award for Best Feature Film has been awarded to Sous les figues (Under the Fig Trees) by Erige Sehiri (Tunisia, Germany, France, Qatar, Switzerland, 2022). It was the opening film of this year’s edition in the opening gala in Tangier, where the film director, Erige Sehiri, attended.

Under the Fig Trees focuses on the flirtations of a group of young people, mostly women, as they harvest figs, a fruit that stands as a metaphor in the film, with a vitality that overpowers the exploitative conditions to which they are subjected. In the film, the female characters talk about their relationship with men and desire in a way that is unusual in Arab films. Women who express the nuances between the different degrees of freedom experienced by Tunisian women, for example, in the way they wear their headscarves, in the face of men who are quite lost and frustrated.

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