Congratulations to the movie "Teza", by director Haile Gerima, on winning top prize earlier this month at FESPACO, Africa's leading film festival, in Burkina Faso. The admired movie tells the story of a highly-educated Ethiopian who returns home from Germany when Haile Mariam Mengistu deposes Emperor Haile Selassie. The movie also won the jury's special prize at last year's Venice Film Festival. The principal feature film award is the "Golden Stallion of Yennenga".
"Adera", an Ethiopian feature film by Director Nega Tariku, showing now at Alem Cinema on Fridays at 4pm & 6pm and at Cinema Sebastapol on Mondays at 4pm & 6pm and on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 2pm.
Alem Cinema, nice cinema in Bole Road, showing Ethiopian films, some with subtitles. Call to check 011-6636717, or look at website www.hailealem.com. Entrance usually Birr 25, unless otherwise indicated.
Edna Mall - Matti Cinema. An excellent new cinema, with an amazing distribution deal so they can show genuine Hollywood as it opens in the US. Watch the latest. To double check, call 011-6616278/6616869 or look at the helpful website: www.ednamall.net. Opposite Bole Medhanealem Church. Entrance Birr 20 Mon-Fri and Birr 30 weekends/holidays.
Abugida. This is based on what happened after generals and other high officers tried to overthrow Mengistu in a coup attempt in May 1989, a recent story that was fast on its way to being forgotten. The bid failed and many died, including some sentenced to death and others went to jail. It was then followed by a huge manhunt and, as often in such political turmoils, it opened the way for betrayal, power, greed and disintegrating families. Tesfaye Gebremariam first wrote the script (he’s a top playwrite) and actress Mulualem Tadesse directs and produced the movie. Total cost is reported to be Birr 700,000, sponsored Abyssinia Bank and Nile Insurance. Top Ethiopian actors star including Teferi Alemu and Abebe Balcha, both of whom are acclaimed for roles on international TV, and Mulualem also acts.
Love & Dance. An entertaining romantic comedy sets ideals of true love and dedication to performance excellence in context of a street dance competition and hip-hop music. Producer, director and writer Berhane Negussie makes his film debut, although he is already well known for TV and radio music and entertainment programmes, restless energy and wide love for Ethiopian music and culture.
The story is of a dedicated coach training his Live Dance troupe to perfection to beat off Addis Dance troupe and reach an African dance competition in South Africa, but rule #1 is to keep away from his lovely daughter Samrawit. Top dancer and lady's man/playa, Tadele, gives his best efforts (and some dirty tricks) to winning her and also falls foul of some schemes himself.. But let’s not give too much of the story away. The film promises entertainment and joy and has English sub-titles for the Amharically-challenged.
The cast spent 18 months training to reach good enough dance standards for Berhane. Stars are singer-dancer Samvod, Bertukan Befekadu (playing Samrawit), Girum Melkamu (Sammy, the true object of her affection) and Getaneh Tehaye, who also provided the inspired choreography. There’s even a guest appearance from Haile Gebreselassie.
The music includes unique compositions by Jonny Ragga and tracks by “father of Ethio-Jazz” Mulatu Astateke (currently enjoying a revival of interest in UK), Girma Yisfrashew and Hunante Mulu.
Berhane’s own history is as a tourist guide, infotainment magazine editor and publisher and radio and tv presenter and producer. He said financing the film was the toughest, but the film bug has hit hard and he’s already working on the next project. Meanwhile, catch this new gem every Friday at Alem cinema.
Red Mistake. A historical drama about student revolutionaries in the struggle against imperialism in the 1970s and the great famine of 1984-5. The story is about a man who was supposed to have been murdered by the military regime at the heyday of the student movement. The director is Teodros Teshome, who is reported as saying the film cost Birr 1.5 million, financed by a bank loan. The film is 1 hr:45 min and was shot in Addis Abeba, Bonga and Jimma starring 11 actors and 3,000 extras. The film premiered at Sheraton on 12 July 2006.
Roman. A chilling story of family love, jealousy, revenge and deception, set against the tapestry background of Ethiopia’s green countryside and buzzing capital city, and its people’s poverty and wealth. The drama brings together top Ethiopian stars such as Fekadu Teklemariam, the late Mulugetu Balcha, Yonas Getachew and Almaz Haile. Amateurs Zekarias Berehanu and Yodith Fekadu take the starring roles.
The film was directed by Yetagesu Gesiet. Special effects animations are by John Mastrogiacomo from USA. The story was written by Emebet Girma, who has a passion for writing and has previously published poems. This film was financed by Zena Belete and Emebet Girma, both now based in Las Vegas. Production manager in his debut film is Emebet's brother, Abiy Girma, based in Addis Abeba. Opened in Alem Cinema on 2 September 2006.
Yefekre Ngre. It's a Love Thing, by Tsion Kiros. Documentary film-maker Tsion Kiros makes her debut in feature films, with the comic romance “Yefeker Ngre”, or “It’s a Love Thing”. Set in modern Addis, its heroine is an independent-minded businesswoman with her own restaurant, although most guys around don’t share her view. Add a love triangle to the mix, and the 90-minute film in Amharic shows how far people will go for love, including the bank teller and her landlord. The movie is written by Tsion with screenwriter Abraham Gezhegne, and self-financed. The stars are Selamyhun as Ezana and Eyerusalem as Nardos.