Ethiopia’s Film Industry Set For Take Off


By Kevin MwanzaPublished: January 15, 2016, 8:25 am

Africa’s film industry has grown tremendously in recent years led by increased commercial production in Nigeria and South Africa. But other nations including Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya are quickly catching on.

A new generation of low budget filmmakers in Ethiopia have managed to beat significant barriers to entry and are now making movies that have got the country’s 93 million people fixated on their every story.

The number of cinema houses in the country’s capital Addis Ababa and other major towns are also on the rise as they seek to meet a growing demand for local movie-content.

According to Taferi Wessen, one of the founders of the now defunct Ethiopian Film Corporation, the struggles local filmmakers go through in Addis hinders serious filmmakers from getting a chance to have their productions seen. They simply crowd out what little venue is available for films to be shown.

“The film industry in Ethiopia is no industry to speak of,” Taferi told Addis Fortune.

“Most of the films, shot on video, look amateur.  In addition, the lighting, sound, make-up and scripts are not professional. . . I believe there is a great future for Ethiopian films but it needs to be taken more seriously.”

In 2015, “Lamb”, a story about a young boy who befriends a lamb that his uncle wants slaughtered, became the first Ethiopian film selected for the Cannes Film Festival.

“The art of cinema has yet to be fully realized in the country,” Yared Zeleke, director of “Lamb”, told France 24.

“The film industry needs development in all areas – financial, technical and artistic. Until those huge needs are met, most productions will remain at the local level.”