"Trouble Waters" Premieres in Addis

"Troubled Waters", a new environmental documentary on the Akaki River in Ethiopia, had its premiere before an invited audience in Addis Ababa in early December 2010.

The Akaki River, which runs southeast of Addis Ababa, has the unenviable title of being the most polluted river in Ethiopia. It is heavily contaminated by industrial and sewage effluents which are pumped into it by local factories, households and hospitals. Some of the residents who live near its banks are forced to use the river water for drinking because they have no access to any other source. “Troubled Waters” examines how the scientists are monitoring the pollution and asks if anything can be done to clean up the county'€™s most polluted river.

The premiere featured a panel with members of the Addis Ababa Environmental Protection Agency (AEPA), who are responsible for protecting the river and ENA, an NGO that works with people affected by the river'€™s pollution, and EFI.

Around 80 filmmakers, government environment officials, NGOs and individuals attended the screening, which took place at the Panoramic Cinema, inside the Red Terror Martyrs Museum.

"€œTroubled Waters"€ is a co-production between the Ethiopian Film Initiative (EFI) and the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF). The film was based on an idea by Behailu Wassie, which he put forward during an EFI workshop on how to pitch documentary ideas. The urgency of exploring the problems of the pollution of the river on screen was further highlighted during a workshop on commissioning films for environmental agencies held by EFI in conjunction with HBF in September 2010; almost all the participants independently chose the pollution in the Akaki River as one of the most pressing subjects.

The film, which is in both English (with subtitles) and Amharic, looks at the Akaki River and some of the causes of its pollution. It also explores the idea of if the water pollution is getting into the human food chain via the vegetables farmed along its banks. The film features interviews with people living and working along the river, as well as with those responsible with its protection. It asks if anything can be done to clean up the county'€™s most polluted river

"€œTroubled Waters"€ was filmed by Abebe Ketsela, with sound by Haile Segewokal, narrated by Kaylois Henry and edited by Yidnekachew Shumete.

It will be shown again, during an environmental film festival to take place at the Goethe Institute in Addis Ababa next year, as well as at numerous planned local screenings.