A chat with director Wondwossen Dikran

Wondwossen Dikran. (Courtesy photo)

Tadias Magazine

By Tadias Staff

New York (TADIAS) – We recently had an email chat with Wondwossen D. Dikran, director of the independent film Journey to Lasta, which has been picked up by Vanguard Cinema, and is now available in most major outlets, including Amazon.com, Blockbuster.com, and Netflix.com.

In 2004, during a cover interview with Tadias Magazine, while discussing the pros and cons of being an indie filmmaker, Wondwossen had described his personal experience by providing a hefty list of pros.

“The freedom of artistic expression, the ability to take risks on new ideas that would otherwise be deemed ‘un-sellable,’ the pleasure of working with other equally passionate people,” he told Tseday Alehegn, Editor-in-Chief of Tadias Magazine.

“Magic happens when the group has a common goal and understands that it could not get any worse but rather better.”

Fast forward three years later, and the distribution deal for Journey to Lasta just got sweeter.

Tadias: Wondwossen, thank you for taking your time to speak with us. It’s good to hear from you again.

Wondwossen: It’s good to be back with Tadias. I miss getting my hard copies :-)

Tadias: Tell us about the deal with Vanguard Cinema.

Wondwossen: We were approached by Vanguard about half a year ago after an executive saw a screener copy of the film and got in touch with us to get the film a distribution deal in the US and international video / DVD and TV market. I was very excited and pleased with the proposal since they have a great reputation in the industry for distributing independent and foreign films that include titles by cinema giants such as Andre Wajda, Jacques Rivette and Michealangelo Antonioni to name a few. Their library is very unique, and the interest and passion they showed about the film gave us enough incentive to get the deal done. We are also very proud that an Ethiopian film has received a major distribution deal from a powerhouse such as Vanguard, and that the film will find an international audience that it would not have been able to reach otherwise.

Tadias: Just so you know, we just requested a rental from Netflix :-)

Wondwossen: Thank you. Make sure to rate, and write a review on it , and add me to your friend’s list. Me and Writer / Director Yemane Demisse send each other recommendations, so we would love it if you join the madness. I am also curious to see what the Tadias rental queue looks like:)

Tadias: How do you think your partnership with Vanguard Cinema will impact the future of the budding Ethiopian and Ethiopian-Diaspora film industry?

Wondwossen: I think it will bring us one-step closer to having our stories being able to reach audiences of all kinds, despite the geographical and other cultural barriers. I don’t think distribution will be an issue for our artists and our industry, if we made films and told stories that really matter. The market has been saturated with so much “fast-tracked” products for a quick buck. That attitude needs to change, and change very quickly.

Tadias: How do you define success as a filmmaker?

Wondwossen: These days, just waking up and being able to do what you love to do is a success, and i have been blessed as far as that is concerned. Obviously, having our work out there so that it can be seen is a pivotal part of the process in our profession, but i am also looking forward to working on the next thing, and the next, and the next.

Tadas: What are you working on these days?

Wondwossen: I have been working as a producer for a few Network shows on Television and getting experience in that world, which is a different beast all together. I have also been writing my next film, and seeing it come alive has been very exciting. I do not like to be comfortable, and always try pushing myself and my own creative limits. What you will be seeing from us in the next few years will be a series of assaults on the senses, and i mean that in the best sense of the term. And I will share that when the time is right.

Tadias: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Wondwossen: I would like to thank everyone who has supported “Journey To Lasta” for getting us here. For those who have not seen it yet, the film will be out Nov. 20th.

If you have any interest in film-making, writing, or would like to send your questions and comments, feel free to e-mail me @ wdikran@yahoo.com. I always make time to connect with audience from all over the world.

BTW, What Director Yemane Demisse has been cooking up in the kitchen is going to blow everybody’s minds away. I was very lucky to see many scenes from his upcoming film, and it looks fantastic. Look out for it.

Tadias: Great chatting with you, as always. Good luck.

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13 Responses to “A chat with director Wondwossen Dikran”

  1. 1 daniel dikran Nov 9th, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Hi Wondu,
    I read your interview with Tadias. Is the film going to be screened on Nov.20? I hope many people will see it, as it is an interesting film.

  2. 2 Jessica Bertulis Nov 9th, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    I look forward to the release of the film!!!! Thanks for the write-up. Wandu is an inspiration to us all.

  3. 3 Wondu Nov 10th, 2007 at 11:06 am

    Big up to you’ll and congrats.
    The independent supporter.
    Wondwossen L Hailegabriel.

  4. 4 Baheilu Nov 10th, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    I can’t waot to see the film.
    Thnaks, bro Wondwossen

  5. 5 daniel dikran Nov 11th, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Hi Wondu,
    Great interview and we are all awaiting to see you great film again. I wish you a great future. I am also waiting for your next picture.
    Regards, Senait Lemma

  6. 6 Teddy T. Nov 12th, 2007 at 2:21 am

    J2L is a must-have addition to the library of any great movies fan. Can’t wait till it’s released on Nov 20th. Wendu we are so proud of you !! Keep up the good work and keep on surprising us with your amazing works…

    Teddy & Mark (from Addis)

  7. 7 Yaddi-Seattle Nov 13th, 2007 at 11:24 am

    Congrats Wondi,
    I admire your hard work and dedication for Ethiopian Cinematography. It is not only great Journey to Lasta is added to Vanguard family, but Vanguard family found Journey to Lasta.
    It is a wonderful movie and it deserve all the hype.

    God Bless!

  8. 8 Tersit Akalework Nov 19th, 2007 at 6:53 am

    Dear Wondu,

    Congratulations I heared that Vanguard Cinema as picked your movie. Bravo Enkuane desealeh. Tersit

  9. 9 Selam-Solu Nov 28th, 2007 at 2:21 am


    We are proud of you, keep it up.
    Wish u the best of all in your future endavor.


  10. 10 Araya Akalework Jan 20th, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    I have no words to express my delight. I can only say keep on on the true meneged
    Araya Akalework

  11. 11 Makana Smith Jun 27th, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I am your brother(Dereje) from Johannesburg, South Africa

    Pls. My dear brother contact me through my e-mails or my phone number-0720497595

    God bless you.

  12. 12 Tsehai Aug 25th, 2009 at 1:04 am

    My eyes were caught by your last name then I was looking for your middle name. I was so exited to see your picture and find out that you are Daniel’s son. My Mom and your grand ma were best friends. What a small world.I wish you the best.

  13. 13 makana smith Dec 28th, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Dear brother wondwossen

    hi brother how are u i am fine how is it brother tateshe say hallo to him wonduya this is my address
    E-mail makanasmith54@yahoo.com
    postal address
    makana smith
    11saratoga Garden
    601 saratoga Ave
    Berea 2198
    cellphone 0784777611
    brother this is my address callme or write a letter please send for me ur picture and tateshya happy x-mass and new year 2010
    ur brother makana smith[Dereje]
    thanks Iove u bye

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