Home > Cinema > Filmmaker speaks about documentary Hormaatee (She Brings Money)

Filmmaker speaks about documentary Hormaatee (She Brings Money)

Hormaatee (She Brings Money) is a documentary film which was premiered last week at the Goethe Institute.

The film was made by an independent Dutch filmmaker Leendert Pot, in collaboration with Kebede Assefa, General Manager of the Eshet Micro Finance Institutions and Olanya Jimmy K.olengo, an African micro Finance Expert from Uganda.

Hormaatee is about a couple in Ambo, around 130 Kms south of Addis Ababa, who came out of abject poverty after they had taken credit from Eshet Micro Finance Institution, one of the 27 micro-finance institutions inEthiopia.

The film shows the couple  whose lives have been transformed as a result of a financial service they secured from a micro finance institution-ESHET.  

I had a chance to talk and ask the film maker on the making of the film and related issues.

Would you tell me about the making of the film?

 The idea came when my wife came to Ethiopia two years before to work as a volunteer. She met Jimmy Olengo, who used to work for Association of Ethiopian Micro Finance Institutions. My wife found him to be a very special person and she introduced him to me. And I liked him too. One day, I thought of making a film about him and I mentioned that to him. But he said there was another important issue that, he believed I should make a film about. And that was Microfinance. He did so because he happened to be involved in that.

But  I wasn’t very much aware of micro-finance. I had read a little bit about it in newspapers. That’s was all. So, Jimmy took me along to give me a picture of what micro finance was like. We then visited many of the micro-finance institutions in the


While doing so, I saw a group of men and women in Ambo looking proud of their achievements. They told me about the miserable life they were leading before. I was impressed, they weren’t asking for money. They were telling me how their lives have changed for the better after they received assistance from ESHET.  I could see that this Microfinance service was of much help to them. I thought it would be a very good idea if a film on this achievement was made. I thought that if I could give Jimmy  a crash course on sound aspect of the film I could make a good film. So that’s how the idea came about. Then we embarked up on the film project with Jimmy. I know about filmmaking, Jimmy* knows about Microfinance

And the challenges?  If any in the process?

One was obviously the language. I didn’t speak any Afaan Oromo, which is the main language there. I didn’t speak Amharic either. So I had to ask some one else to do the interview for me. This was a little strange. For my previous films, I was making all the interviews myself.

Tell me about your background as a filmmaker? When did you start filmmaking?

I have been a professional documentary filmmaker since 1982. My first big film came out in 1989. It was a film about my sister with the “syndrome of Down”. I wasn’t happy with the way people treated her, and the way people in
Holland treated handicapped persons.

It was shown on T.V and it was even premiered at the International Documentary Film Festival. I was very lucky, because the film got recognition. The poster also had a very powerful picture of my sister with her boyfriend, who is handicapped. The picture was in very newspapers in

Can you tell me about your future project? What do you intend to do next?

I’d like to make films about Ethiopia like ‘City Symphony’ and ‘The Cow and Kids’.(These two short films were shown at the premire before Hormatee). I’ve seen many little nice things here. All together, they’ll make an image of Ethiopia. I’d like to make images that would make people talk, discuss. In Holland people think that Ethiopians are poor. They don’t have a car; they don’t go to school, which I have proved to be completely wrong. I have plans to make movies that deconstruct that.

*(I had a couple of questions for Jimmy as well. See his answers here under.)

 Let me turn this question to you. How did you come to choose ESHET?

Jimmy- because it is efficient, they’re growing in a systematic and efficient manner. The clients’ lives were changing, accessing more and more food provisions, improved housing condition. They have been able to reach the level of sustainability. We thought they would show the success of other microfinance organizations. And the General Manager was willing to work with us.


Some people think micro-finance is one of the major engine of developments other say it is not. The film would convince cynics on how people’s life is changed because of micro-finance. But the film also shows how the clients are setting more than credit, education, family planning, and decision making, the bargaining power and other social issues.

  There could be  people who say that this is  an advertisement for a certain organization. 

That’ll be a wrong perception. Fist and foremost, ESHET didn’t initiate this. The film is not geared towards one organization. It is only an attempt to try and tell the world what micro-finance is all about, how it works. You can’t make a film on all the micro-finance organizations here. The service that ESHET gives is the same as the service other micro-finance organizations do. It’s not advertising ESHET. It’s showing out the product that other micro finance institutions within the region of
Ethiopia give. There are many successful stories. ESHET happen to be one of them.


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Categories: Cinema
  1. October 15, 2006 at 3:44 pm


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