Archive for the ‘Cinema’ Category

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…

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


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


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

Teza premiered

September 2, 2008 1 comment

Here is a link from AFP on Haile Gerima’s Teza, one of the two African films in the selection vying for the coveted Golden Lion at Venice film festival.

    Mengistu’s blood-drenched Ethiopia was the backdrop in Venice on  Tuesday for filmmaker Haile Gerima’s “Teza,” his attempt to reconcile an idyllic childhood with modern realities.Read the rest here.

Categories: Cinema

Haile Gerima’s film in the line-up of Venice Film Festival

July 30, 2008 3 comments

Haile Gerima’s new feature film “Teza” will compete for the coveted Golden Lion at the 65th Venice Film Festival, according to the program announced yesterday, July 29. 

The film chronicles the return of an Ethiopian intellectual to his country of birth during the repressive Marxist regime of Mengistu HaileMariam and the recognition of his own displacement and powerlessness at the dissolution of his people’s humanity and social values, it was said.The film will world preem at festival alongside ample lineups from Europe, Asia and America to be held from  August 27th-September,2008.

Italian films will dominate the festival this year and fewer Hollywood films will be shown due to the impact of the writer’s strike.

All but two of the 21 films in competiton will be world premiers; organizers made an exception for two Japanese animated films that opened at home for the busy summer season.

While 18 full-length Italian features are being shown, only 10 movies will come from the United States – including the Coen brothers dark spy-comedy “Burn After Reading,” which opens the festival Aug. 27.German filmmaker, Wim Wenders will head the jury that awards the coveted Golden Lion on Sept. 6.

Haile Gerima is no stranger to Venice film Festival.His documentary , Adwa An African Victory, has had an enthusiastic screenings before in 1999.

For more check here.

Categories: Cinema

Michel Papatakis-A pioneering Cinematographer

March 24, 2008 7 comments

A year ago I was researching on the early days of Ethiopian cinema hoping to produce a story for a paper that I was freelancing then. In the course of working on it, there was a name that kept emerging: Michel Papatakis.

His was a success story in pioneering the Ethiopian cinema by realizing the potential of the film medium to both entertain and inform society. Not only did he run his own production company, he also wrote, directed, filmed, and edited his own films. The major one was Guma (Blood Money) that he produced around 1974 but he has also many documentaries to his credit.

aWhat is it about Michel that has made him a pioneering force in Ethiopian cinema, yet never appropriately acknowledged in his own land?

Probably it is because of his quiet, self-effacing nature and the simple life he has been leading for almost two decades. He avoids film premiers and any conferences. But if you had a chance to talk to him, you would see a friendly man and a pleasant one to deal with. Read more…

Categories: Cinema