'Imagine' is an educational institute for African film, television and multimedia students and professionals. It is situated in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. It is an initiative of film director Gaston Kaboré. His goal: encouraging the imagination.
African film producers usually learn their professional skills in practice. They get by thanks to their talent, but they lack reflection and theoretical background. ‘Not a healthy situation’, according to internationally acclaimed director Gaston Kaboré (see box).
'Imagine' is not an ordinary film academy. The institute aspires to being a dynamic environment, a meeting place for artists of various disciplines to have brainstorming sessions and attend seminars, where the African identity can be contemplated and how it can be shown in images.
In February 2003 Imagine opened its doors and twelve workshops were held since then. The institute offers something extra in addition to the curriculum of traditional academies. It intends to create room for young and older/established film producers by organising dynamic, short, cutting edge educational programmes, allowing them to share expertise and experience and to gain more in-depth knowledge.
The workshops are aimed at three groups: young talents without formal education, professionals who want to gain more in-depth knowledge and trainers and professionals who want to develop their teaching skills: the train-the-trainers programme.
These workshops last two to eight weeks and are run by first rate lecturers from around the world. 'Imagine' has decided against working with a fixed team of lecturers and not to invest heavily in equipment. The idea is to be flexible and to respond to new technological developments quickly.
With Imagine, Kaboré wants to create a source of inspiration for the citizens of Ouagadougou as well. He has high hopes for them to become actively involved in art. He is of the opinion that without imagination there is no development. Kaboré thinks that people should learn from their own history, but also from the knowledge of other disciplines, such as music, literature and visual arts. In the near future, therefore, room will be created adjacent to the premises of 'Imagine' for a new restaurant, a film theatre, a library and a videoshop.
'Imagine' is partly funded by the Hubert Bals Foundation, Hivos, the Prince Claus Fund, the Dutch Embassy in Ouagadougou and the Friends of Imagine.
The initiator of 'Imagine' is film maker / historian Gaston Kaboré. Films like Wênd Kuuni, Zano Boko, Rabi and Buud Yam, made him one of the most important film directors of Africa. He received a ‘César’ in Paris (the French equivalent of the Oscar) for his film Wênd Kuuni. Most of his films are about the cultural heritage of his country, the running theme in his work is his desire to reinforce the African identity through the arts.
Kaboré: ‘I believe that a society that is confronted with images and values from abroad on a daily basis, will eventually lose its identity and the ability to choose its own destination. 'Imagine' is an attempt to wake us up and to keep our inner ears and eyes wide open.’