2014 from Addis to Cannes

 May 2014

5 Young Ethiopian Filmmakers Selected To Attend Cannes & Present Films In Monaco

The International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA), the Ethiopian Film Initiative (EFI), along with new partner & sponsor - the Better World Film Festival (BWFF) announced today that five young filmmakers – four women and one man – have been selected for a week-long visit to Monaco and Cannes, during the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, for workshops, programs and events, including a Gala Benefit Dinner/Party in Monaco’s fabulous Villa Nocturne.  2014’s “From Addis To Cannes” filmmakers were chosen from a significant group of applicants from Ethiopia’s promising film community through a targeted search focusing on emerging and mid-career filmmakers looking to further their careers and create international partnerships. 2014's "From Addis to Cannes" winners are: Adanech Admasu, Hiwot Admasu, Hermon Hailay, Yamrot Nigussie, and Daniel Debebe

Adanech Admassu, one of Ethiopia’s most experienced female documentary film directors, has worked in some of the most remote areas of the country. She specializes in making films that give voice to the marginalized in the country. Adanech's own story reads much like her films: born to a poor family and growing up in the streets of Mercato, she left school at 16 and was destined to be a kolo (an Ethiopian form of popcorn) seller, when she was recruited to take part in GEM TV, one of the country's first community film schools.  She will be pitching a story on female genital mutilation set in Kenya, about at the extraordinary life of the Maasai woman Hellen Nkuraiya, exploring together how attitudes are changing within the Maasai culture.

Daniel Debebe is a young experimental award-winning filmmaker with a strong humanitarian engagement. He will be pitching a story about a young Ethiopian man who is forced to come back to his home country after so long. He steps out in the streets of Addis Ababa for the first time in decades with only a backpack and a few hundred dollars in his pocket. He does not have the strength to call his parents nor the will to face his past.

Hermon Hailay, one of Ethiopia’s leading female film writer/directors, with several critically and commercially successful films to her name, is currently in production of her third feature film. It tells the story of a young Addis Ababa taxi driver who gets caught up in the dark side of love, causing his taxi to be stolen. He finds himself stuck in a relationship with a prostitute, making him confront his past and discover what is the ultimate price of love.

Hiwot Admasu, who learned the art of storytelling from her grandmother's traditional stories, often takes an experimental approach to her filmmaking. She prefers directing her own scripts and will be pitching a story about a thirteen-year old girl, Selam, discovering her sexuality against the backdrop of a very conservative society.

Yamrot Nigussie, whose work stretches from directing documentary and television dramas to acting, is presenting a docudrama story about the many challenges facing a 22-year-old Ethiopian house-maid returning from a harsh working environment in Saudi Arabia, and how she confronts them.

Since 2010, The International Emerging Film Talent Association, and the Ethiopian Film Initiative, together have provided an opportunity for young Ethiopian filmmakers to study and learn their craft in Addis Ababa. The filmmakers travel to Cannes and are mentored as they meet a range of influential distributors, sales agents, producers, directors and international film commissioners at the international festival. They are also given one-on-one sessions with film institutions, consultants, established producing & co-producing entities, and international distribution companies.

FROM ADDIS TO CANNES aims to create a bridge for Ethiopian filmmakers to potential funders and distributors while giving them the tools to have a sustainable career in the film business. From Addis to Cannes will help the IEFTA, EFI and newly joined BWFF, promote the global film conversation with the emerging film community of Ethiopia, a country with a rich heritage and culture. For the audiences of the world at this time of increased globalization, awareness of Ethiopia’s culture through film adds to the richness of the global film expression.

We congratulate 2014's "From Addis to Cannes" winners and we wish them all the best.