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Haile Gerima on current movies

September 23, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

Is there a film industry in Ethiopia? What do you make of the video productions that are coming in large numbers?
Some says there are some fantastic things taking shape in the young Ethiopian cinema. For others, they have simply commodity status and they are not even worth talking about.
Haile Gerima, the highly acclaimed director and a professor at Howard University, says he finds it difficult to call the current video productions real cinema.
In a discussion held at Addis Ababa University, he said hasn’t come across anything that be called cinema and has a sense of Ethiopian history and culture. He sees the productions as sit-com that revolves around single events and leaves much to be desired.
Haile said many even confuse films with theatres and show theaters with close-up and call it cinema. He said it is not easy to find actors here in Addis, as most of them had related rhythm with stage plays actors. While Haile was looking for actors for his upcoming film, he said, most of the actors who auditioned have intonation taken from the tradition of the theatre. They don’t seem to know this has anything to do with cinema.
Haile thinks some of the earliest Ethiopian films, such as Guma, Hirut Abatwa Mann new, and Aster are exceptions to the rule. Today, it saddened him that there is no support given to well- meaning directors like Taffese Jara, Solomon Bekele , Michel Papatakis, who would have produced more quality films. But, Haile said, on their part they have to create interactive battle with the young generation.
Haile argued the reason why our culture remains as a ‘dream’ is that it is because we don’t have a cinema culture, though there is the technology, amazing culture, theatre tradition.
Food for thought.

Categories: Cinema
  1. Martha
    September 29, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    All I have to say about the majority of Ethipian films coming out is that there are a lot of theatrical styles, and after discussing with other abeshas, I have concluded that this is mainly because a lot of the actors are trained for the stage performance, and with the rapid growth of film production a lot of the films are just bringing the stage into movies, and need to invest in teaching acting for films.

    on the other hand, some of the films are bringing up real issue, and sort of putting a mirror into our society to reflect on it. and that aspect of the film production needs appreciation and support.

  2. November 23, 2006 at 4:25 am

    I don’t think the art of filmmaking has ever been given the chance it deserves in the Ethiopian society. Haile Gerima, on one of his interviews said that the Ethiopian cinema has yet to be born. Though I agree with him in some ways, I still find it difficult as to who would then be responsible for shapping up the film industry in Ethiopia. I personally see a lot of young ambitious Ethiopian filmmakers who are trying hard to make it work. But this brings us to the question “what is cinema?” and what does it mean to the audience. I personally think that Ethiopian filmmakers do not need to go back and try to start everything from scratch so that we would have something called “Ethiopian cinema” Technology is far more advanced and we sure are in better position than Hollywood movie makers were when Hollywood first started making movies. So why not get crazy with the current filmmaking technologies and create the best motion picture possible. Hollywood has reached the top of its goal, with stories for a movie almost running out, on the other hand, Ethiopia is just beginning with lots and lots of rich history to be told. As a filmmaker, I would take advantage of the current filmmaking technology that will best suit me in telling the best story of my people. Directors and producers need to start thinking big. They need to start thinking about promoting their film outside of Ethiopia.

  3. embrt
    December 5, 2006 at 3:58 am

    for all those who take keen interest in African Cinema, i cant emphacize just how highly i recommend that you read “Symbolic Narratives / African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image (Paperback) ” as an filmmaker who intends on making and promoting african films, this book has become an invaluable asset for me.

  4. ADMAS Media Center
    March 25, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Primarily I would like to thank film maker Halie Gerima for pin pointing the problem with the so called Ethiopian actors, as a struggling local film maker I had the chance to work with Ethiopian theatre (stage actors ) in an up coming Ethiopian video. while their unrelated acting with the cinema is quiet visible they have hard time of accepting their mistakes specially those who have been performing for many years in theater when we try to tell them the difference between theatre and acting for a movie they have this nature which is not open to any criticism or who are you to tell me how I have to do my job you are only from yesterday I am from the beginning of time some try telling me how many years they have been acting, or their stage back ground or highest respect they gained from their audience or some times there is a big gap of age between me and the person I have to direct or correct this too is intimidating if I ignore it and try to keep every things they want it to be honest I am UN able to go to bed peacefully I get frustrated angry you understand the pain of art so dear what do you think I have to do to divert these stage actors to movie actors? one big obstacle i want to mention it is the investor who does the casting because they want to make profit not quality product so they like to pick stage actors with a popular horn than USA(Unidentified Struggling Actor) take this in to consideration I might have the know how but I don’t have the means to do things my way because of luck of Green Ice. can you share with me how smoothly Ethiopian movie can be free from a 10X10 stage to the whole wide world
    your humble disciple ADMAS Media Center.

  5. September 5, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I do not have expertise to be a critic on the issue except that I can’t disagree with all the comments given. But from another perspective, we can’t blame the existing initiatives that deliver pieces to the Ethiopian audience and the volume seems increasing. Despite the problems stated, this has been and is still now phenomenal.

    Those who say the Ethiopian Cinima has to be born must come up with new works that buys the interests of the audience both at home and abroad. Those who are in it can learn from the real Cinema practices and codes. For me what we lack is an increase in the number of directors like that of Hon. Haile Gerima and a few others.

    Forums and discussions on the subject would help existing practioners to improve and understand what it takes to make a good Ethiopian Cinema.

    Hope ‘Teza’ will energize the Ethiopian Cinema industry.

  6. November 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Подбор по теме перспективный, помещу сайт в избранное.

  7. November 18, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    Комплекс текстов перспективный, закину сайт в избранное.

  8. November 19, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Подбор текстов правильный, добавлю сайт в закладки.

  9. November 19, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Пожалуй, бессмысленная новость

  10. November 20, 2008 at 8:03 am

    Аноним умница

  11. November 20, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Чего и следовало ожидать, написавший удачно опубликовал!

  12. November 20, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    Чего и следовало ожидать, автор неплохо написал!

  13. November 21, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Честно, зачотная работа

  14. November 21, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Афтар юморист

  15. November 21, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Афтар зачет

  16. November 25, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    Как обычно, автор круто отжег!

  17. t_mar
    November 28, 2008 at 9:15 am

    i really apriciate professor haile gerima movies & it’s better to share his experiance & knowledge to other ethiopian movie makeres.

  18. December 5, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Должен признать, автор расово верно накропал.

  19. December 8, 2008 at 3:25 am

    Уважаемый убейся

  1. February 4, 2008 at 11:07 am
  2. March 4, 2008 at 5:38 am

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