The Return of the Obelisk
July 2, 2008
This documentary film focuses on the incredible history behind the Axum Obelisk, which almost seventy years after Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia, finally returned home in April 2005. This Obelisk is a twenty-three meter stele that Ethiopia considers one of its most important historical monuments and one UNESCO declared as world heritage.
Through the Obelisk’s tale, the film recollects the history of Ethiopia— its relationship to Italy, its fight for independence, and since then, its seventy-year struggle to retrieve this priceless piece of art.
Additionally, the film illustrates Ethiopia’s rich cultural heritage to the public, and thus, offers a different image of the country that has, and continous to suffer from a unique, widespread misrepresentation in Western media outlets.
Writer/Director: Samson Giorgis
Duration: 64 Minutes
13 Months of Sunshine
July 2, 2008
13 Months of Sunshine is the story of an Ethiopian man who marries a woman so she can get a green card and become a citizen of the United States. In exchange, her family pays him $20,000, enough to open up his own dream business--an authentic Ethiopian coffee house.
During the year-long naturalization process, they must learn to live with each other, finding that the marriage of convenience becomes complicated through love, jealousy, and the clash of cultural values each must face in following their dreams.
The call of coffee, of fashion, and the unspoken desires of each character all collide in a colorful, comedic, and heartwarming tale that speaks both to the immigrant spirit and to the American dream.
Writer/Director: Yehdego Abeselom
Duration: 95 Minutes
The Djibouto-Ethiopian: Stories of a Return
July 2, 2008
After several years in France, Samson Giorgis, a young Ethiopian, returns to his country. To travel the 874 kilometers that separate Djibouti and Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Samson takes the old, mythical railway known as the Djibouto-Ethiopian.
During his journey, we discover the life inside the train. It is a place of, not only, exchange and trade, where most seats are filled by tcharcharis (female smugglers), but also, one full of life, where the travelers play games to kill time.
Naturally, the main subject that the travelers love to talk about is the railway itself. Everyone has something to say about it, and in his or her own way, everyone keeps the myth alive.
Writer/Director: Samson Giorgis and Antoine Cuche
Duration: 52 Minutes
Room 11, Ethiopia Hotel
July 2, 208
By witnessing the interaction between two children and the Japanese filmmaker, Itsushi Kawase, this film captures a sense of the life of children living on the street in Godar.
Although the film is about the children’s life on the streets, the entire film was shot in the filmmaker’s room in the Ethiopian Hotel in Piassa, Gondar. This limited space allows the film to focus on the communication between the children and the filmmaker, revealing some of the ideas that enable them to endure and survive on the streets.
Ethiopia Hotel is more of a sensitive testimony than a scientific documentary, yet, through its hybrid approach, the filmmaker aims to explore new trends in visual anthropology, while touching on intimacy and subjectivity.
Director/Editor: Itsushi Kawase
Duration: 24 Minutes