Haile Gerima’s ‘Teza’ Wins Best Screenplay & Special Jury Prize at Venice Filmfest

Above: Actors (from left) Evelyn Arthur Johnson, Veronika
Avraham, Aaron Arefe and Abeye Tedla (
From official Venezia 65 Awards)

By Tadias Staff

Sunday, September 7, 2008

New York (Tadias) – Director Haile Gerima’s new film,Teza, has won OSELLA for Best Screenplay and Special Jury Prize at the 65th Venice Film Festival, which concluded on Saturday, September 6th at an awards ceremony hosted by Ksenia Rappoport. The Golden Lion for Best Film went to The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky.

From official Venezia 65 Awards

The Venezia 65 Jury, chaired by Wim Wenders and comprised of Juriy Arabov, Valeria Golino, Douglas Gordon, Lucrecia Martel, John Landis, and Johnnie To, having viewed all twenty-one films in competition, has decided as follows:

GOLDEN LION for Best Film:
The Wrestler by Darren Aronofsky (USA)

SILVER LION for Best Director to:
Aleksey German Jr. for Bumažnyj Soldat (Paper Soldier) (Russia)

Teza by Haile Gerima (Ethiopia, Germany, France)

COPPA VOLPI for Best Actor:
Silvio Orlando for Il papà di Giovanna by Pupi Avati (Italy)

COPPA VOLPI for Best Actress:
Dominique Blanc for L’autre by Patrick Mario Bernard and Pierre Trividic (France)

MARCELLO MASTROIANNI AWARD for Best Young Actor or Actress:
Jennifer Lawrence for The Burning Plain by Guillermo Arriaga (USA)

OSELLA for Best Cinematography to:
Alisher Khamidhodjaev and Maxim Drozdov for Bumažnyj Soldat (Paper Soldier) by Aleksey German Jr. (Russia)

OSELLA for Best Screenplay to:
Haile Gerima for Teza by Haile Gerima (Ethiopia, Germany, France)

Haile Gerima’s “Teza’ Revisits Ethiopia Under Mengistu at Venice Filmfest (AFP)

September 2nd, 2008

VENICE, Italy (AFP) — Mengistu’s blood-drenched Ethiopia was the backdrop in Venice on Tuesday for filmmaker Haile Gerima’s “Teza,” his attempt to reconcile an idyllic childhood with modern realities.

“I dream my past, but the present is so powerful that it continues to hijack my sentimental journey to my childhood,” Gerima told a news conference.

In the film, Aron Arefe plays Anberber, an idealistic Ethiopian intellectual who studies medicine in Germany, then returns to his home village under Haile Mariam Mengistu’s brutal 1970s-80s regime.

Unable to put his expertise to good use, Anberber also faces an identity crisis arising from his “displacement between the village and the modern world,” said Gerima, who won a lifetime achievement award at the Washington Independent Film Festival in 2003.

“Contemporary reality continues to interfere, with silent violence as well as obvious violence,” he added.

A central challenge was harnessing the wealth inherited from generations of oral tradition, Gerima said, calling handed-down stories “our monuments.”

“My grandmother told stories around the fire. My father was a playwright. How do you reconcile that tradition with filmmaking? How is the form culminating my personal identity?” he asked.

“Teza” is one of two African films in the selection of 21 vying for the coveted Golden Lion here, along with “Gabbla” by Algeria’s Tariq Teguia, set in the north African country as it emerged from its civil war of the 1990s. Read More.

16 Responses to “Haile Gerima’s ‘Teza’ Wins Best Screenplay & Special Jury Prize at Venice Filmfest”

  1. 1 Dawit T. Sep 8th, 2008 at 1:22 am

    Wow! I am proud of Haile Gerima for winning the title. Keep on doing best things and win more titles!

    Best wishes in future endeavour!

  2. 2 begudu Sep 8th, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Congratulations Haile!

  3. 3 Tewfik Sep 9th, 2008 at 5:22 am

    Bravo, I am very proud of him and I wish he will will continue teach cinema when he come back home.

  4. 4 Kobelew Sep 10th, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Congratulations Gash Haile .

    We are really proud of you and the lessons we learn from your achievements are enormous

    We love you!

  5. 5 Damaa Sep 14th, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Congrats Haile!

  6. 6 Congratulations Haile Gerima! Sep 15th, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    You deserve it, even more than this. You are our St. Yared of cinema!
    We are really proud of you.
    With love

  7. 7 abyssi Nov 3rd, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Congratulations Haile Gerima!We are really proud of you . abyssi from switzerland

  8. 8 Ethiopiawit Dec 28th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Congrate you make as all (Ethiopians) proud..keep up the good work

  9. 9 Robel Jan 9th, 2009 at 4:08 am


    Gashe Professor Haila Gerima, I am proud of you. I learned many things about myself about Ethiopia/Africa by watching your films. I loved your ‘TEZA’ film so much. I and many Ethiopians/Africans need to find our original selves. I live in Addis Ababa. Our models are Hollywood actors and we are living in an era of mental slavery by the western culture. I think your movies show us how to be real Ethiopians by showing our fabric and what we are really made of. I want to follow you Gashe Haile.

    Thanks a lot.
    Robel from Ethiopia

  10. 10 hiwiyee Jan 13th, 2009 at 4:10 am

    I watched Teza and i thought “now they have made a movie in Ethiopia”. It is spectacular. i think every Ethiopian should see this film. And the awards it is receieving are well-deserved. Thanks Haile Gerima, I am deeply proud of you!

  11. 11 Fikirte Feb 2nd, 2009 at 6:00 am

    Dear Professor haile Gerima

    I am proud of you. For me, Teza is the best film I have ever seen. You are a model for Africans. I promise I will follow you by doing the best in my work.

    Egziabiher Edmena tsegawun abizito Yistih!

    Addis Ababa

  12. 12 eyerusalem and abraham Feb 25th, 2009 at 12:04 am

    selam selam haile gerima. we would like to tell you how much we like your movies (adwa, sankofa, teza)and how much we are proud of you. we wish you all the best.

  13. 13 Bethy Mar 5th, 2009 at 1:52 am

    I saw “Teza” at Edna mall, It is the best Amharic film I have ever seen! Prof. Haile, you are a great man. I respect you very much. Ethiopia is lucky to have a son like you! Also your interview with Aljazeera TV is good.

  14. 14 bilata Mar 28th, 2009 at 7:44 am

    Congra Prof!
    It is really nice as it touched a lot of issues.
    But I also expect (may be another movie) that touches up on the current situations in Ethiopia.
    Dehna Hunu

  15. 15 Bezabhe Nov 3rd, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I would like to say congratulation!
    This is a victory for all Ethiopians.
    By the way, I am a post graduate student in literature in English language in Mekelle university. I planned to conduct a research on the movie TEZA. But I couldn’t get the film script. I will be very glad if you attach on my g mail account or send in the mail: Mekelle University, Adi-Haki campus, p.o.box 451.
    Thank you

  1. 1 FilmcriticBlogs.com » Gerima Follow-Up Pingback on Sep 11th, 2008 at 10:13 am
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