Somalia’s entry “The Gravedigger’s Wife” by Finish-Somali writer-director Khadar Ayderus Ahmed won the prestigious Stallion of Yennenga grand prize for best film at the Pan-African film festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
The poignant drama about a gravedigger’s struggles to raise money to pay for his wife’s surgery took home the 20 million franc CFA ($35,714) prize money and the golden stallion statue.
Set in Djibouti City in the Horn of Africa, it stars Finnish-Somali actor Omar Abdi as a struggling gravedigger on a quest to raise the money for the kidney transplant desperately needed by his beloved wife, played by Canadian-Somali model and actress Yasmin Warsame.
It is one of just three features with strong African connections due to play in Cannes Official Selection or one of the parallel sections this year.
The Gravedigger’s Wife is produced by Finnish producer Mark Lwoff and Misha Jaari at Helsinki-based Bufo Productions in co-production with France’s Pyramide Productions and Germany’s Twenty Twenty Vision.
It developed under the auspices of the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence programme and also won the €20,000 prize post-production prize at the Marrakech International Film Festival’s Atlas Workshops industry event in 2019.