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The sad story of our films

November 27, 2011 4 comments

A graduate of Theatre Arts at the Addis Ababa University, Aron Yeshitila wrote two stage plays and three screenplays. He received an award as best screenwriter at the 3rd Ethiopian International Film Festival in 2008, for the film he wrote and produced MIZEWOCHU (The Best Men), for which he received outstanding reviews. Aron has worked as a journalist and editor for several weekly newspapers in Ethiopia, including Addis Fortune. In 2010, he contributed an article for a book entitled Theater in Sub-Saharan Africa, published in Germany. In this contribution to Addis Journal, the young film maker laments about the poignant story of the nascent film making in Ethiopia, how an excessive tax of the state is making it difficult for the film makers to get financial return and how this all is affecting the quality of the film production.

Few months ago I received a phone call from a friend who just released a new film. He had to wait for six months before his turn was due to screen his movie at cinemas in Addis Ababa.
“Hi John, how is the movie going at Ambassador Cinema?” I asked.
“Good we are getting 900 to thousand people in a day.” I could feel his high spirit.
“Wow! Congrats that is it. You hit it finally” I said.
“Yes, but we are expecting more because . . . you know . . . this is not a lot”, this time with a slight concern in his voice. It is a feeling that I sympathize with. Read more…

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Categories: Cinema

Businessman threatens to sue actress

April 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Award winning actress Mulualem Tadesse may not immediately seem the likely person who would be considered to be sued.

But owner of Mati Cinema, Tekleberhan Ambaye, is threatening to sue her over share of profits.

The award-winning stage actress Mululem has taken 375, 000 birr from the businessman to finance Abugida, a feature film based on the coup attempt against the Mengistu’s regime, premiered two years ago.

The businessman said he felt cheated as he has neither received money nor any financial statement from the actress so far. Read more…

Categories: Cinema

Teza takes Africa film honour

March 9, 2009 Leave a comment

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Another accolade for Haile Gerim’a Teza.

It was announced that Teza was the unanimous winner of the Golden stallion of Yennenga at the event in Burkina Faso’s capital.

According to the BBC, director Haile Gerima’s award was accepted by his sister Selome, who also co-produced the film.

Selome said during the week-long Fespaco event in the West African city that their film had taken 14 years to bring to the screen.See full story here.

Categories: Cinema

Teza at Fespaco

March 2, 2009 1 comment

Haile Gerima’s “Teza” is competing at Panafrican du cinéma et de la télévison de Ougadougu being held at Burkina Faso’s capital, Ougadougu.

There are 127 films showing in the competition in this year’s Fespaco festival and twenty five African countries are competing in the features, shorts, documentaries, and TV, and video categories.

18 films are competing in the feature film section and the Moroccan film, Whatever Lola wants is expected to be a strong contender for Teza.

Find Radio France International’s English section detailed on-air and web coverage of the festival here.

Categories: Cinema

An interview with Haile Gerima

November 27, 2008 4 comments

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This is an extract from an interview the Paris based Les novelless d’Addis has made with Haile Gerima.

.Yes. Self-exiled. Not necessarily….As I said the historical circumstances all contribute within my own character, my own traits. It could be I cannot accept the types of government, I cannot accept the kinds of conservative social context or to be unable to express oneself, etc. Not that I am better off in the United States. I am not. I do not like the weather. I do not like the climate. I do not have money there. I do not get money from my films in America and mostly cultivate in very long term European finance. It is just the fact that nobody cares about me in the United States to take me as a threat or as a formidable enemy or… In our third world countries the problem was mostly that intellectuals like me were fundamentally cowards. I am unable to cope with all kinds of the lack of liberty, not from government only, individual, social, etc.

Read the whole here.

Categories: Cinema

Teza scoops top prize at Carthage

November 3, 2008 Leave a comment

Ethiopian film “Teza” scooped four main awards at Africa’s Carthage Film Festival Saturday, including the coveted Golden Tanit for its “modesty and genius”.

The film by Haile Gerima bagged the top prize on the last day of the festival in Tunisia, beating the Palestinian film “Leila’s Birthday” and Tunisia’s entry “Khamsa” to second and third place respectively.

“Teza” tells the story of an Ethiopian doctor at the height of the Cold War who comes back to his country from the West under the Marxist regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam in the 1970s.Read the rest here.

Categories: Cinema

Haile’s film to screen at Carthage

October 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Haile Gerima’s film “Teza” won the Special Jury Prize at the 65th International Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy.

Next in the offing is the verdict from Africans as the film will be screened at the 22nd Tunisia’s Carthage Film festival on October 25 on what is going to be the first projection in the continent. Best of luck! 

( Haile poses for a photo with the Special Jury Prize, 06 September 2008.EPA/Claudio Onorati)

Categories: Cinema