By Meheret Selassie Mokonnen
Renowned for awarding the best Ethiopian filmmakers every year, the Ethiopian International Film Festival (ETHIOIFF) ended on November 24.
Held for the ninth time, the festival kick-started on November 17.
This year the competition consisted of 10 categories- best Feature Film, Cinematography, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Promising Child and Audience Choice. The closing ceremony at Hilton Addis was a glamorous night for most filmmakers. Above all it can be said it was the best night for the Rebuni crew who took six of the awards.
Rebuni, released last year, won Best Feature Film and Best Audience Choice awards. The writer and director of the film, Kidist Yilma, won Best Director and Screenplay. The lead actress of the film, Ruta Mengisteab, was awarded Best Female Actress of the year. This year the festival mainly focused on children. For this reason there was a Best Promising Child category. The category brought an additional trophy for Rebuni’s child actor – Yeabsira Tekilu.
Called to the stage numerous times Kidist could not say much except “thank you God” in a quivering voice. “For me and the rest of the crew, this award is a responsibility, compelling us to do much more” Kidist told The Reporter. She said the award gave them energy and it feels great to be appreciated and recognized for something they had worked on tirelessly.
Tezera Lemma from Ye’bekur Lij won Best Male Actor of the year. Tewodros Fikadu from Timetaleh Biye and Edilwork Tasew from Sir Mizewa respectively were awarded Best Supporting Actor and Actress of the year. Best cinematography went to Sewmehon Asfaw and Tariku Desalgn for Kemis Yelebeskulet.
During the award ceremony some of the audience complained about the poor sound and picture quality. Expecting much more from the closing ceremony, since this is the ninth year and the organizers must have learned a lot from the previous years, many were in despair.
Yirgashewa Teshome, organizer and director of the festival, told The Reporter, “These kind of mistakes happen even at big international festivals. It was not because we were not prepared, we were but, it just happened at that moment”. He said there would be some improvements in the coming years. He said they would try to make the closing ceremonies more interesting and add more categories whenever professional judges are available. This year’s judges were selected from Addis Ababa University, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and National Writers Association.
In view of the 25th anniversary of UNICEF, the festival focused on children. The festival, dubbed “Children’s Film World: Color or Black and White”, paid exceptional attention to movies made by children, youths and also movies whose prime concern were children. During the week, around 16 movies from different countries were screened. Among these, Indian movies “Making of Mahatma” and “The 3 idiots” were screened with Amharic subtitles.
Children from elementary and secondary schools were invited to attend the discussions and watch the movies. In addition, a public lecture about children’s right to information, expression and culture and how children are portrayed in movies was given by Swedish filmmaker Johanna Wester.
Source: Ethiopian Reporter Newspaper