EFI Press Release - Socially Responsible Film Making
PRODUCING SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE FILMS
ADDIS ABABA – October 10th, 2009 - Twenty Ethiopian filmmakers have completed four short documentary films to promote tolerance and mutual understanding. The filmmakers have been taking part in an intensive two-week workshop in Addis Ababa organized by the Ethiopian Film Initiative in partnership with AA University and Synergy Habesha Film Production. The training was sponsored by UNESCO.
This latest course follows a much larger one-week seminar on the theme of encouraging the development of documentary filmmaking in Ethiopia. Certificates were handed out to participants of both workshops by H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Dirir, Minister of Culture and Tourism, at a closing ceremony on Friday evening.
It was launched on September 28th, 2009 with training by film professionals from South Africa, Ethiopia and Europe. Producer Pascal Schmitz, director of photography Richard Muller and director Damian Armstrong came from South Africa as part of the technical training team to join local support team including independent filmmaker Ato Ermias W/Amlak and Ato Dawit L. Abebe, AA University lecturer. EFI coordinator Ragnhild Ek and former BBC commissioning editor, Keith Bowers, led the training.
The participants were divided into four groups, with a range of directing, producing, camera and editing skills and were given the task of producing short documentaries.
“As filmmakers, one should be aware of what socially responsible film making means. There is no opportunity to know that such responsibility should be incorporated with the profession. It was really a gap filling exercise,” commented participant Ato Melaku Alemayehu, publications and information officer at the AA Culture and Tourism Bureau.
The participants were drawn from Addis Ababa and different parts of Ethiopia. Both government and private media organizations were represented as well as all the film associations, AA University, AA City Culture and Tourism Bureau, Walta, GEM TV, private film schools, and independent filmmakers.
“I found a lot of talent in Ethiopia, and one thing that really came across in the workshop is how eager people are to learn,” added Director of Photography Richard Muller. “Never have I had a class or workshop be so receptive to what we had to offer and couple that eagerness to learn, the energy the filmmakers have with the richness of culture and the stories to tell here, I think the Ethiopian film industry has a bright and exciting future.”
The workshop ended with a screening of the short documentaries to the filmmaking community, international organizations and cultural institutes, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Addis Ababa University. It is envisaged that these documentaries will be shown to audiences in Ethiopia at film festivals as well as abroad. The four documentaries were: ‘Team Spirit’, Beyond Tolerance, Breaking the Barriers and Dancing for Unity.
Media Film Services, a South Africa based company, sponsored part of the gear used during training.
For media inquiries, contact:
Deborah Ghirmai at 0911 486960