Ethiopian Films News

'Images That Matter' Film Festival Opened in Addis Ababa 2010

With glamour rivaling a Hollywood premiere, the first Images that Matter film festival opened Monday June 14, 2010 at the National Theatre.

The pomp of the opening day was highlighted by a red carpet, marching band and various dignitaries including Somali Supermodel Waris Dirie, whose film "Desert Flower" is shown during the festival.

Minister of Culture and Tourism, HE Mohamoud Dirir welcomed the audience, stressing the importance of film in the development of a country. 'Ethiopians can dance, Ethiopians can run faster than anybody else, now they also show that they can make films; films that are socially responsible, films that deal with issues of daily lives and transcend Ethiopia's rich history of religious tolerance and diversity", he said.

Festival Director Maji-da Abdi thanked all the many sponsors, particularly the French Embassy and the main funding agency, CultureFrance.

Festival Executive Zelalem Woldemariam's new short film 'Lezare' opened the festival. It is a story about a homeless boy in a small village in Southern Ethiopia, that won Best Short Film Youth Jury Award at the Tarifa African Film Festival in May 2010.

'Lezare' was followed by German director Wim Wender's upbeat film on micro-financing 'Person to Person', 'Welcome to Womanhood' by Charlotte Metcalf, a fast paced look at the various problems facing women across the world, 'Coffee & Allah' a fabulous short film 'Coffee & Allah' by New Zealand director Sima Urale about a young Muslim woman’s appetite for coffee, Islam and a good game of badminton. It ended with the French film 'Fond du Teint' by Marie-Louise Mendy about her son coming to terms with their different skin colours.

Ms. Derie was given standing ovations during the opening. The African premiere of  'Desert Flower', based on Waris Derie life, and starring Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede, will be screened Tuesday evening at 5:00 pm at the Theatre.

Over 100 short films from all over the world will be shown everyday at the National Theatre until 19 June 2010. The festival will also include a number of workshops conducted by internationally known film professionals.

The also features ten short documentary films titled “Addis Shorts – Contemporary Views on Addis”, co-produced by the Blue Nile Film & Television Academy and the Goethe Institute. These are showing Thursday, 17 June 2010 , 2.30pm – 4pm and Friday, 18 June 18th 2010, 9.30am – 12pm. 

The festival also presents panel discussions, Q&As with the visiting Film Directors and Producers and an East African Film Competition.

The association Images that Matter aims to encourage the use of film as a personal, social and economic tool for development; create exchanges between African cinema professionals; encourage new initiatives, and boost production of short films internationally, in particular the African continent.

Images that Matter is one of an increasingly rich culture of film festivals developing in Ethiopia.

Other film festivals include the Addis Ababa International Film Festival, presenting documentaries with a focus on social justice from around the globe and which runs yearly at the Sebastopol cinema.  

The Ethiopian International Film Festival (EIFF) festival, which has a special focus on African cinema and runs in October/November every year at various venues.

There is also an annual European Film Festival sponsored by the European Union and an Indian Film Festival run by the Indian Embassy.