25 February 2013 4:46 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

After winning the jury prize at Cannes in 2010, Mahamat Saleh Haroun, has led the renaissance of cinema in his home country

When Mahamat Saleh Haroun left Chad as a young man in the 1980s the country was being torn apart by a brutal and seemingly endless civil war. Dictator Hissene Habre was accused of mass political killings, while the rule of military commander Idriss Deby, who took control in 1990, had been interspersed with violent and bloody sectarian skirmishes with rebel groups and Arab Janjaweed militia from Darfur.

Little wonder then that when growing up, Haroun's first love – film – was seen as an irrelevance.

But three decades later, after presidential elections boycotted by the opposition in 2011 saw Deby elected for a fourth term and a peace deal with Sudan ushered in a period of relative stability, the country is experiencing a modest cultural reawakening.

A cinema has reopened in the capital »

- Alexandra Topping

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