Ethiopian Made Films Are Few and of Poor Quality, Say Experts
By Seble Teweldebirhan
Addis Ababa, June 23, 2011 (Ezega.com) – This week, a new film titled ‘Yeketerkut’ or ‘My Employee’ was opeedn in Addis Ababa at National Theater. The 1:40 hour film was produced by Kasim Ibrahim and Zabia Film Production. The film is a romance/tragedy that shows a family ruined by a boy who joined them as an employee of the family business. The daughter, the maid, and the wife in the family were all in love with this boy who finally broke the family in a very tragic way.
The producers announced that the film took 7 months to produce and 320,000 birr budget. The audience at the opening was questioning if the film really cost that much. This is because the film is a traditional romance (with a very predictable rich girl, poor boy relationship story and low quality production), and it was filmed in five locations at most. In addition to that, the actors were mostly young and amateur, people who would probably participated in the movie just for the experience.
This film was seen by many at the opening as an example of the number of poor quality films we see in Addis Ababa. With the wide open audience who has no alternative for entertainment, the quality of our movies is falling under even bigger question mark. Since the audience will see any movie anyways, film making is becoming a pure business and films are produced with extremely low quality that could even be identified by a layman. The stories are becoming repetitive and boring only focusing on romance and comedy. If the industry was a little strong, the majority of these films wouldn’t see the light of the day.
The guest of honor for the opening of ‘Yeketerkut’ was director, producer and author Daniel Worku. What makes the opening of this film different from all the other movies we witness every day in Addis Ababa is the fact that Daniel, at the opening ceremony, openly criticized the film saying that there has to be some sort of corrections on the film before it goes to the public. “The film requires correction in its storyline and directing in some places. But I do appreciate the effort and we need to support these young people for the future so that they can come up with a better production,” Daniel said on the stage.
His comment shocked many who thought he was supposed to say nice things about the film since he was the guest of honor. Some said he should have given this comment for the producers and director in private than makng them in public.
After the opening, Daniel told Ezega.com that the director needs to correct several mistakes in the film. “Clearly the story is very defective. There are unreasonable and sometimes unconvincing scenes in the film. In addition, it lucks flow and looks like a collection of several unrelated events. If you see the actors they are emotional for things that do not require emotion and when something shocking comes they act as if nothing happened. This obviously creates confusion and blemish the storyline,” Daniel said.
Daniel was also unsatisfied with the camera and editing. “There are mistakes that could have been corrected if they took the time and watch it again before the opening. The lighting and the animations added were problematic. It was possible to correct these problems by just showing for another cameraman or editor. Film making requires several eyes,” he said.
“The main trouble with our films today is that they are made by very young and inexperienced film makers, and even those with experience and resource are treating the industry as a gold mine by investing very little and getting a lot out of it. But the most serious problem is they are not open to criticism. If they just show the film for experienced film makers before the opening it would have solved many of their problems. The scripts need to be evaluated by qualified writers and the production must be done and again evaluated by professionals. Otherwise the result will be what we are seeing today in most cinema halls,” Daniel added.
Daniel learned that the film ‘Yeketerkut’ had already hit the silver screen at Alem Cinema before its official opening after his opening comments. “I am disappointed” he said. “I know that Alem Cinema evaluates movies before they screen them. This also puts a question mark on the judges at that cinema”
For the graduates of Tom Video and Photography School, young director Mohammed Ibrahim and the producer (who is also his brother) Kasim Ibrahim, this is their first production.
“I have talked with Daniel after and I explained to him that the problem was not with the film, rather it is the projector we have used. It didn’t fit the National Theater screen and created a problem that looked like a defect in its production. I don’t believe there is much of a problem with the film and the storyline. It’s been on Alem Cinema screen for a month and its going just fine,” Ibrahim told Ezega.com.
Seble Teweldebirhan is Addis Ababa based Reporter for Ezega.com. She can be reached by sending email through this form.