Ethiopian Films News

Addis International Film Festival Competition 2010

One of the closing events of the highly successful 2010 Addis International Film Festival was the short film competition.  Young Ethiopian filmmakers were invited to submit a documentary film of no longer than one minute.  13 films made the final screening session on Sunday evening, 4th April.

The Festival, which ran for ten days starting from March 26 to April 4, 2010, at the Sebastopol Cinema, featured many films from around the world, but the joy of the short film competition was that we saw local stories, about Ethiopia, by Ethiopians.

I was honored to be on the judging panel of the competition, alongside Wondesen Kebede rom the Ethiopian Filmmakers Association, local filmmaker Yamrot Negussie, Director of  “Breaking Barriers”, and Canadian Filmmaker Petr Lom, Director of “Letters to the President”.

We all agreed that the task of making a complete story, and making it cinematic, in one minute is a difficult one.  However the filmmakers had all made an exceptional effort in their presentations, and it was an extremely hard decision for us to pick a winner.  We eventually agreed that “A Child in a Box”, by Mentesnot Alemu, would take the main prize, as it communicated a powerful message, about the treatment of children, through its use of strong visual metaphor.  “Susceptible” by Mulugeta Megersa, was awarded the second prize, as it too cleverly used the visual language of cinema to tell its story.  There was no need for words, or narration, as we saw a young student studying the delicate internal workings of the human body, surrounded by ashtrays, cigarettes, alcohol, cakes and chat.

There were a number of films that impressed us, and it was difficult to decide which one would take the third prize.  “Us” by Araya Kiros again had a strong message in its depiction of Christians and Muslims living peacefully side-by-side, but it was the fast-paced exploration of one young boy’s life working around the taxis of Addis, in “A Coin Dropped” by Andom Tashu, that we eventually awarded the third prize.

It would seem, judging by the standard of work of these young filmmakers, that the future of Ethiopian cinema is in good hands.


Article by Philip Cowan
Scriptwriting Advisor for EFI