Ethiopian wins Best African Movie award at FESPACO
Ethiopian Haile Gerima’s film Teza won the Best Film at Fespaco. The Film took Gerima 14 years to make and tells the story of a young medical research scientist from Ethiopia who returns home after training in Germany to find a bloodletting authoritarian regime in place.
Gerima not only directed the feature but also researched it, wrote it, spent years raising money for it, edited it, composed the soundtrack for it and auditioned every actor. FESPACO’s judges praised Teza for its strength, depth and poetry, coveying the dashed hopes of a returning intellectual elite.
The lead role of Anberber, an idealistic Ethiopian academic who refuses to yield to the killings of political dissidents and villagers, is played by US-based Ethiopian Aron Harefe. He was not able to read Amharic so someone had to read him every line before it was spoken.
South Africa scooped six awards at the same event, including the Silver Stallion Prize for John Kani’s Nothing But the Truth, which additionally received the Ousmane Sembene Prize for Peace.
Director Khalo Matabane’s television series When We Were Black was awarded the Best Television Series prize, while Jerusalema received three awards for Best Actor, Best Editing and Best Cinematography. In the Best Documentary category, the award went to Egyption filmmaker, Jihan Tihari, for Behind the Rainbow.
NFVF CEO Eddie Mbalo, in Ouagadougou to receive the awards on behalf of Nothing But The Truth team expressed his joy at this achievement by South African filmmakers: “It is truly a moment of pride for our nation. It is especially significant that our films receive such recognition from Fespaco, since the films are judged by Africans from across the continent and the diaspora. It is even more meaningful that our fellows in the industry believe that South African products represent the quality and standard that African films are capable of and they best present the ability of African filmmakers”.
Other South African films entered for the competition include:
Triomph - Michael Raeburn
White Wedding - Jann Turner
The Last Supper - Ritendra Naran
The Manuscripts of Timbuktu - Zola Maseko
Courting Justice - Jane Lipman
Gugu no Andile - Minky Schlesinger