Senegalese director Alain Gomis has won the Golden Stallion prize for best film at the 23rd pan-African films festival, Fespaco. The jury praised the "cinematic grace" of his film Tey (Today).
"I feel very proud," Gomis told RFI. "Proud of everyone who worked on the film and proud of Senegal. The Senegalese have battled to make films in difficult conditions over the last few years. But they persevered and we have to congratulate them on keeping the flame alive."
Gomis is proud of his varied heritage, describing himself as "made of pieces - Guinea-Bissau, France, Senegal".
"We need diversity," he insists. "Films of all genres, all formats and for all kinds of public, not just an elite, but for everyone."
Tey, which opens with a shot of two eyes and a hand settled on a dead body, examines the relationship between the living and the dead.
Its star, Saul Williams, received the prize for best male lead.
Other prizewinners were:
Yema by Algerian Djamila Sahraoui, Silver Stallion - a mother fights the sad fate of her family, evoking the Islamists' effect on her country;
La Pirogue (The Dugout) by Senegalese Moussa Touré, Bronze Stallion - a group of would-be immigrants are lost at sea;
Mariam Ouédraogo, best actress for her role in Burkina Faso's Apolline Traoré's Moi Zaphira;
Por aqui tudo bem (All is well) by Angolan Pocas Pascoal, European Union prize - two sisters flee civil war and arrive in Lisbon in 1980;
Les Enfants de Troumaron (The Children of Troumaron) by Mauritius's Harriksrina and Shavan Anenden - a portrait of four unemployed youths in the capital, Port-Louis.