EZRA WINS TOP AFRICAN FILM PRIZE
The Nigerian film Ezra has won the top prize at the biennial African Film Festival, Fespaco, in Burkina Faso.
The festival is the major showcase for the continent's films, many of which are not widely distributed.
Ezra, the story of a child soldier in the decade-long Sierra Leone civil war, was a popular winner at a lively closing ceremony.
The film, directed by Newton Aduaka, was awarded the top prize, known as the Yennenga Stallion.
The importance of the subject and the quality of the direction were cited by the jury as the main reasons for its decision.
Aduaka was visibly moved when he received the giant golden trophy, and appeared lost for words when he spoke to the media afterwards.
To judge by the reaction of the large crowd at the closing ceremony, it was a popular choice.
Ezra pipped the Cameroonian film, Les Saignantes (Those Who Bleed), a daring story of sex and corruption set 20 years into the future.
The other prizes were spread out around the continent, with Ethiopian and Moroccan movies winning the best short film and the best documentary respectively.
Fespaco is crucial for African directors, as their films are often not widely distributed.
Many of the films in competition address problems in African society or the issue of migration.
Fespaco is held every two years and brings together the cream of African cinema for debates and film screenings.