EFI Meeting June 2008

Addis Ababa 25 June 2008

Vision Agreed for the Future of the Ethiopian Film Industry International and local filmmakers have agreed on an ambitious three-point plan to strengthen the film industry in Ethiopia.

The three-point plan was agreed after a two-day workshop called the Ethiopian Film Initiative held at the UNECA in Addis Ababa on 23 - 24 June. The Initiative involved the Ethiopian Culture and Tourism Ministry, Addis Ababa University, local filmmakers and the International Emerging Talent Film Festival (IETFF) based in Monaco.  

The Culture and Tourism Minister, H.E. Ambassador Mohammed Dirir Gheddi, who welcomed the Initiative, opened the Conference. Other key speakers included the Representative of UNESCO based in Addis Ababa, Mr. Nureldin Satti, and the Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Gurjit Singh.

The three-point plan includes liaising with the government to establish a film policy and to discuss the setting up of a government agency to oversee the development of the local film industry. The second point emerging from the conference was a decision to set up an umbrella film organisation to represent all individual filmmakers and related associations in Ethiopia.

This new organisation will seek to provide mutual support for all practitioners in the film industry, and act as a unified lobbying group on the film industry matters. An ad hoc group of local filmmakers was formed to plan how such an umbrella group would operate. The third point of the plan was to improve the professional standards of the Ethiopian film industry by encouraging short-term training to raise craft skills, production management, marketing and distribution. In the longer term the Ethiopian Film Initiative is supporting the development of permanent film centers in the country, including establishing a film department at Addis Ababa University.

The two-day workshop was attended by up to a hundred filmmakers and media professionals from Ethiopia and at least fifteen countries, including seven from the African continent.

H.E. Ambassador Tadelech Haile-Michael, who attended the workshop, said: “The time is now. If we don’t use this opportunity no one anywhere is waiting for us. We have to be part of the global situation that is moving so fast. We have to realise that the film industry can bring a lot of money and can help promote the positive image of our country and increase the number of tourist.”

The conference was sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines, the ECA, UNESCO, the Indian Embassy, and the US Embassy in Addis Ababa as well as Serenade Restaurant and Kuriftu Guest House in Addis Ababa.