The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.

Philippe Lacôte is a director and producer from the Côte d’Ivoire. His film Run (2014) is opening the Royal Africa Society film festival this year and has been chosen to represent the country in the best foreign language film category at the 88th Academy Awards (Oscars) – the first since 1976.

Run is a coming-of-age drama starring César award-winning actor Isaach de Bankolé. It is a surreal and powerful commentary on the Côte d’Ivoire’s history of violence.

What is your film Run about and what does it say about contemporary Africa?

Run is a story about my country, Côte d’Ivoire and its social and political history. I used fiction to ask the question: ‘How did we descend into violence?’ I ask this question through the three lives of my main characters in Run.

Isaach de Bankolé and Abdoul Karim Konaté in Run.

How have you seen the film scene in the Côte d’Ivoire – and Africa more generally – change over the last few years and how do you think it will continue to develop?

The film scene in the Côte d’Ivoire is still very young. There was a real cinema scene in Côte d’Ivoire with directors like Désiré Ecaré or Henri Duparc. After them, it was very difficult. I think, and hope, that it’s a new start for Ivorian cinema. We need to build a real industry. But for this, I think, we must think less in terms of a country but more in terms of West Africa.

The elephant (and its symbolism) in Run.

Who is your African of the year?

The people of Burkino Faso for their courage.

Run (2014) will be screened at the opening gala of the RAS Film Festival 2015 on October 30.

Follow Philippe Lacôte on Twitter @philippe_lacote

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