Three Ethiopian Films Featured at New African Film Festival in U.S.

According to organizers the annual film festival, which is usually held at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, will be held online this year (April 1–18) highlighting 33 films from 26 Countries including Ethiopian movies "Running Against The Wind, Finding Sally and Min Alesh [ምን አለሽ. (Courtesy photos)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

Updated: March 30th, 2021

New York (TADIAS) — This year’s U.S.-based New African Film Festival features three award-winning Ethiopian films including the 2020 Oscar Selection Running Against The Wind; filmmaker Tamara Dawit’s timely documentary Finding Sally and the inspiring new film Min Alesh [ምን አለሽ], a story set in Merkato about a young woman who overcomes adversity through athletics.

According to organizers the annual film festival, which is usually held at AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, will be held online this year (April 1–18) highlighting 33 films from 26 Countries.

The 2021 New African Film Festival “showcases the vibrancy of African filmmaking from all corners of the
continent and across the diaspora,” the announcement stated. “This year, for its 17th edition, the festival goes virtual, presenting a lineup of outstanding contemporary African cinema online for audiences in the Washington, DC, area and beyond.”

Below are descriptions and trailers of the Ethiopian films courtesy of AFI Silver Theatre.

Special Presentation

2020 Oscar® Selection, Ethiopia

RUNNING AGAINST THE WIND

Available starting Friday, April 2

Ethiopia’s 2020 Oscar® submission traces the lives of two brothers pursuing big dreams along very different paths. As children, Abdi (Ashenafi Nigusu) wants to become a long-distance runner, while Solomon (Mikias Wolde) desires nothing more than to become a professional photographer. Early in their childhood, the brothers part ways. Solomon escapes his remote hometown to seek his fortune as a photographer in Addis Ababa, eventually ending up on the streets in the city’s vast slums. Abdi remains in his village, training to become an Olympian in the hopes of following in the footsteps of Ethiopian legend and gold medalist Haile Gebrselassie (who has a cameo in the film). When fate reunites the brothers as adults in Addis Ababa, can the distance that has grown between them be bridged? DIR/SCR/PROD Jan Philipp Weyl; SCR Michael Wogh; PROD Samerawit Seid Kekebo, Chris Naumann, Andreas Seck. Ethiopia/Germany, 2019, color, 116 min. In Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Special Presentation

FINDING SALLY

Available starting Thursday, April 8

Followed by a recorded Q&A with filmmaker Tamara Mariam Dawit

FINDING SALLY tells the incredible story of a 23-year-old woman from an upper-class family who became a communist rebel with the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party in the 1970s. Idealistic and in love, Sally got caught up in her country’s revolutionary fervor and landed on the military government’s most wanted list. She went underground and her family never saw her again. Four decades after Sally’s disappearance, filmmaker Tamara Mariam Dawit pieces together the mysterious life of her aunt Sally. She revisits the Ethiopian Revolution and the terrible massacre that followed, which resulted in nearly every Ethiopian family losing a loved one. Her quest leads her to question notions of belonging, personal convictions and political ideals at a time when Ethiopia is going through important political changes once again. (Note adapted from Catbird Productions.) Official Selection, 2020 Göteborg Film Festival, African Diaspora International Film Festival and Film Africa; 2021 Pan African Film Festival. DIR/SCR Tamara Mariam Dawit; PROD Isabelle Couture. Canada, 2020, color, 78 min. In English and Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

MIN ALESH? [ምን አለሽ]

Available starting Thursday, April 8

Set in Merkato, a sprawling, open-air market in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, MIN ALESH? tells the inspiring story of 21-year-old Selam (Amleset Muchie, who also wrote and directed), whose perseverance transforms her life for the better. Having grown up amid poverty and hardships, Selam is determined to change her own and her family’s circumstances through her passion for running. An international race offers her a chance to achieve her dream. (Note adapted from New York African Film Festival.) DIR/SCR Amleset Muchie; PROD Selamawit Mare. Ethiopia, 2019, color, 84 min. In Amharic with English subtitles. NOT RATED

Learn more at AFI.com and get festival access at https://naff.eventive.org/.

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