CNN on the Heartwarming Movie Lamb & the Challenges of Filmmaking in Ethiopia

'Lamb': Ethiopia's first Cannes-selected film. (Image: CNN video still)


By Colin Hancock and Daisy Carrington

Ethiopia is not a country known for its burgeoning film scene. Even the capital city, Addis Ababa, only boasts 20 cinemas.

It’s also not an easy place to make a movie, but that didn’t stop filmmaker Yared Zeleke, whose first feature film, “Lamb,” was also the first Ethiopian film ever to be selected at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Film is hard no matter where you are, but in a place like Ethiopia, what’s difficult becomes almost impossible,” admits Zeleke.

“There are so many difficulties facing young filmmakers in Ethiopia today. There aren’t proper support systems in the country. We have to work on that, and I hope Lamb will open the minds and hearts of all Ethiopians to nurture real storytelling and cinema in this country,” he adds.

Unique challenges

According to the country’s filmmakers, the biggest challenge facing the industry is that, well, there is no industry.

“I spend from my pocket… I have other businesses, that’s why I survived. There are a lot of filmmakers in Ethiopia who are really trying to do it without any profit,” admits Arsema Worku, whose film, Imnet, is one of the most popular in Ethiopia right now.

“There are no sponsors for filmmaking because most of the investors would rather spend on other aspects,” she says.

Despite the lack of funding, there are many still determined to nurture the talent that does exist in the country. Addis Ababa University, for one, has recently added a film program to its curriculum.

“(The film industry) is at graduate level, but it’s progressing,” says Behaila Wassie, a film student at the university.

“There are some entertaining, visionary filmmakers coming. Hopefully, we are going to give a lot to the world.”

Read more at »

Director Yared Zeleke’s Film ‘Lamb’ is Ethiopia’s Official Submission to Oscars
Tadias Q&A with Yared Zeleke – Director of Ethiopian Film ‘Lamb’
Lamb Review: Sheer Brilliance Knits Together First Ethiopian Film at Cannes (The Guardian)
Watch: Ethiopia’s First-Ever Cannes “Official Selection” Drama ‘Lamb’ (Indiewire)
Lamb: Yared Zeleke’s Film at Cannes 2015 (TADIAS)
Cannes 2015: the complete festival line-up (The Telegraph)
Home work: Filmmaker Yared Zeleke’s Origin Stories (Manhattan Digest)

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