First Locally Made Cartoon Film Released in Ethiopia

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An Ethiopian-made film, believed to be instrumental in entertaining and educating Ethiopian children was inaugurated last week. The film is seen as a pioneer in a country where Ethiopian-made cartoon films written in any of the languages in the country are totally non-existent.

The film in the Amharic language is based on a poem by the veteran writer Kebede Michael, mostly known for his memorable children books, with a soundtrack playing melodies of children's favorite songs like the famous children song 'Beza Bebega' said the film aims at nurturing and educating children while simultaneously entertaining them".

"Cartoon films are typical educational and entertaining instruments for children," film director Teshome Kifle said speaking at the inauguration ceremony.

"Unfortunately it does not seem that much attention is given to cartoon film production in Ethiopia, unlike other countries in the developed world." He said he has plans to produce similar films in other Ethiopian languages, provided that he secures sponsorship for his projects.

"Painters should be given some course about painting for animation for it is difficult to get scholar in the field for the production of his film," the film director, who is a computer expert said adding there needs to bring artists in the area of cartoon film making.

"Art schools in the country particularly have to give this due attention to tap in to this untouched genre," Teshome urged.

He said the 200,000 birr film, which runs for 54 minutes in which more than seven actors participate in voice, will be aired via ETV with arrangements with the state- run television. Teshome's cartoon film could be considered as the first locally produced film and 'the first to be released in DVDs and VCDs formats in the country' Extending his admiration and respect for the film maker for coming up with the cartoon film, comedian Assres Bekele said the Teshome's work deserves support and encouragement.

But he said the film had "some technical defects." According to the comedian and children entertainer, the film has drawbacks for using music in foreign language, which he said could be easily corrected.

The Daily Monitor