Ethiopian Films News

Ethiopian International Film Festival 2010 wraps up

The fifth edition of Ethiopian International Film Festival ended on Monday Dec. 6, 2010, at the National Theatre with awards being given in seven categories. Yegir eta was chosen as the best picture, amidst some controversy.

The best film was chosen from a pool of five films in which renowned actor Fikadu Teklemariam was accorded the honour of announcing the winner. However on his way to the stage to announce the winner Fikadu was told that he had the wrong envelope in his hand and had required the MC to produce the right envelope- the minor mishap had prompted the audience into silence.

Finally Fikadu announced the winner of the best picture as Yeegir eta, which seemed unexpected to some observers.

"€œWhen we see why films are chosen as best films the criteria differ between a professional point of view and the viewers'€™ view. Film viewers might not know the technical details but for sure they know what good film is. What surprised me is why they chose Yeegir eta, in any standards it doesn’t deserve to be the best film. All the cheering and the clapping of hands for other films didn’t happen for Yeegir eta and the incident with the wrong envelope what is that? There is something shady about it,"€ one filmmaker stated seeking anonymity.

Some of the people in the audience EFI talked to expressed their reservations as well when it came to Yeegir eta. "€œThere are films which were better than Yegir eta like Tizitah and I don'€™t know the reason why they chose Yegir eta,"€ commented Mahlet Yehualawork.

The film festival had a theme: New times, new culture. It brought together some 25 Ethiopian films which were screened at Yoftahe Cinema, Alem Cinema,  Cultural Centre and the National Theatre from November 29 to December 6, 2010.

As the winners were announced the audience at the national theatre was cheering particularly for Girum Mezmur who won the title of best actor for his performance in Tizitah and Yilugita.

The chairman of the jury panel Birhanu Shibru stated that they had different criteria to choose the winners and in some exceptional cases some of the films received equal points and were identified by votes.

"€œThe main criteria we saw in this film festival were the way they portrayed the question of identity and showed the elements of being Ethiopian. We also looked at the philosophy, history, aesthetics, language of the films and the way they depicted those issues,"€ Birhanu Shibiru explained.

Apart from the local films, around thirty foreign films were screened during the film festival among them After the mine (Congo), Soul boy (Kenya) and Love conquers all (Malaysia).

Different workshops and trainings took place along the sidelines of the festival as well. Twelve trainees, for instance, were given a two-week training and screened their three short films at the final day of the film festival.

Even if some had their reservations when it came to the awards, others also appreciated the festival. "€œI saw every film and what I can tell you is it was a great festival. I think we should have more of these kinds of festivals,"€ said Mekdes Melese.

A jury of professionals that came from various fields identified the winners in seven categories:

* Makda Afework: best supporting actress (Sisit)

* Feleke Abebe: best supporting actor (Yeegir eta)

* Sayat Demissie: best actress (Laundry boy)

* Girum Ermias: best actor (Tizitah and Yilugita)

* Biniyam Worku: best scriptwriter (Sebategnaw sew)

* Yonas Birhane Mewa: Best director (Makbel)

* Yeegir eta: best picture.