Ethiopian Film ‘Difret’ – A Story of Resilience Premieres at Sundance 2014

Difret's cast includes teenage actress Tizita Hagere playing Hirut who was abducted and dared to escape her captors. (Courtesy photograph)

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Published: Monday, January 20th, 2014

New York (TADIAS) — The World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival got underway this past weekend in Park City, Utah with the premiere of the Ethiopian film Difret (Amharic with English subtitles). The ninety-nine minute drama is based on the true story of Aberash Bekele (Hirut), a 14-year-old from a small, rural village — not far from Addis Ababa — whose widely publicized arrest for murder in the late 1990s ensued an epic court battle that resulted in her acquittal on the grounds of self-defense. The case and ordeal of Hirut (played by teen actress Tizita Hagere) legally ended the long-upheld cultural tradition of marriage by abduction in Ethiopia. Difret is the first Ethiopian film to be featured at the Sundance Film Festival.

A summary of the film describes Meaza Ashenafi as “an empowered and tenacious young lawyer,” who represents Hirut and argues that she acted in self-defense. “Meaza boldly embarks on a collision course between enforcing civil authority and abiding by customary law, risking the ongoing work of her women’s legal-aid practice to save Hirut’s life. Ethiopian-born writer/director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari portrays, with panoramic beauty, the complexity of a country’s transformation toward equal rights, featuring the courageous generation that dares to own it.”

Indiewire highlighted Meron Getnet, who plays the feisty defense attorney Meaza Ashenafi, as one of the “10 Actors to Watch Out For at Sundance 2014.” In her own right Meron is also one of the leading actresses in Ethiopia.

The film’s producers include Mehret Mandefro, Leelai Demoz, Zeresenay Berhane Mehari as well as Executive Producers Angelina Jolie, Julie Mehretu, Jessica Rankin, Francesca Zampi and Lacey Schwartz.

Other credits include Cinematographer: Monika Lenczewska; Editor: Agnieszka Glinska; Production Designer: Dawit Shawel; Composers: David Schommer and David Eggar.

Difret premiered on Saturday, January 18th at the Egyptian Theatre in Park City and is scheduled to play on Monday January 20th at Broadway Centre Cinema in Salt Lake City. It returns back to Park City on Tuesday, January 21st at the Egyptian Theatre, followed by a screening at the Library Center Theatre on Thursday, January 23rd. The film concludes the ten-day festival with a showing at the Holiday Village Cinema in Park City on Saturday, January 25th.

Learn more at http://filmguide.sundance.org/

Related:
Ethiopian filmmaker hopes ‘Difret’ will make a difference
Meron Getnet Listed in ’10 Actors to Watch Out For’ at Sundance 2014
Sundance: Angelina Jolie Joins Ethiopian Pic ‘Difret’ as Executive Producer
Feature Film Difret Selected for 2014 Sundance Film Festival

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