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Interview with Ethiopian Film Maker Mantegaftot Sileshi


This is an online Question and Answer Column where I profile various individuals.

My guest for this month is Mantegaftot  Sileshi an Ethiopian movie maker whose short movie “Gerreta” received awards on international levels in recent months. He reflected on his movie. Here is the interview.

የ ኢትዮ ፊደል እንግዳዬ በ ቅርቡ በ ሰራው ግርታ በተሰኘ ኣጭር ፊልሙ ሁለት ኣለም ኣቀፍ ሽልማቶችን ያገኘ ነው ። ስለ ሽልማቶቹ ኣጫውቶኛል
የጀርመን ድምጽ ራዲዮም ኣዘጋጅ ነው ቃለ ምልልሱን እንድታነቡ እጋብዛለሁ


Johnny : First of all congratulations that your movie “Gerreta” received an award for the second time in a year. Tell us about the awards?


Mantegaftot :  Thank you very much indeed! As you mentioned it my short film “Gerreta” won Ousman Sembene award last July at the Zanzibar International film festival ( ZIFF). The Award recognizes excellence in short film production and encourage the production of new short films, including short documentaries.


I didn’t receive my $2,000 awards yet. However I am still communicating with the organizers. Because of my tight schedule I could not attended this festival as well.

The other award I received was from the California state Assembly at Silicon Valley African film festival, which took place this October in San Jose, USA. More than one thousand filmmakers submitted their films this year. The recognition was for our outstanding achievement in using film as a vehicle for community engagement and education and for strengthening culture with passion and creativity.

“Gerreta” has already been pre selected in more than 10 film festival ahead including Toronto Film Festival for January next year. We have got semi-finalist status In Kiev Film Festival and Eurocinema Film Festival, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland next year. Gerreta won 1st prize award in an international short film competition took place in the 9th edition of River Film Festival in 2015 in Padova, Italy. The prestigious FESPACO and Film Initiative Film Festival in Berlin are some of the festivals we were being finalists.

በቅድሚያ ለተሰጠኝ ዕድል በጣም አመሰግናለሁ! አንተም እንደገለጥከው ግርታ በዚህ ዓመት ሐምሌ ወር በዛንዚባር ፊልም ፌስቲቫል በታዋቂው የአፍሪቃ የፊልም ባለሙያ የኦስማን ሴምቤኔ ስም የተሰየመውን ሽልማት አሸናፊ ኾኗል::

“ሽልማቱ የተዋቀረው በአጭር ፊልም ሥራ የመጠቀ ብቃት ላሰየ ተገቢውን ሽልማት ለመስጠትና አዳዲስ አጭር ፊልሞች ሥራዎችን ለማበረታታት የተዋቀረ ነው” ይላል የፌስቲቫሉ ድረገፅ:: ሽልማቱ በእርግጥ ሁለት ሺህ ዶላር ነው:: ሆኖም አሁንም ድረሰ ሽልማቱ አልተሰጠንም:: ከአዘጋጆቹ ጋር በኢሜል እየተፃፃፍን ነው:: ሽልማቱ ከሦስት ወር በኇላም ቢሆን ይደርስናል ብለን ተስፉ አድርገናል:: በወቅቱ ስላልተመቸኝ በፌስቲቫሉ ላይ በአካል መገኘት አልቻልኩም ነበር:

እንደ ዕድል ሆኖ ግን በካሊፎርኒያ ግዛት ሳንሆዜ ከተማ በ8ኛው ዓመታዊ የሲሊከን ቫሊ የአፍሪቃ ፊልም ፌስቲቫል ላይ በመስከረም  ወር  ማብቂያ መሳተፍ ችያለሁ:: አዘጋጆቹ ከአንድ ሺህ በላይ የፊልም ባለሞያዎች ፊልሞቻቸውን ልከው እንደነበር ገልጠዋል:: በፌስቲቫሉ መዝጊያ የሽልማት ሥነስርአት ወቅት ሜዳሊያና ልዩ ዕውቅና ተስጥቶናል:: የዕውቅና ጽሑፉ እንዲህ ይነበባል “ፊልምን እንደ አንዳች መሣሪያ በመጠቀም ማኅበረሰቡ እንዲወያይና እንዲማማር ለተቀዳጁት ድንቅ ስኬት ዕውቅና በ8ኛው ዓመታዊ የሲሊከን ቫሊ የአፍሪቃ ፊልም ፌስቲቫል የተሰጠ:: በፈጠራ ሥራዎና በጥልቅ ስሜትዎ ባሕላችንን ስላጎለበቱ እናመሠግናለን::””የግርታ” አጭር ፊልም ረዥም ስኬት ቀጥሏል:: ካናዳ ቶሮንቶ ፊልም ፌስቲቫልን ጨምሮ በመላው ዓለም ከ10 በላይ ፌስቲቫሎች ላይም ከወዲሁ ታጭቷል:: በኪይቭ ፊልም ፌስቲቫል ዩክሬን ከተማ ውስጥ እና በስዊዘርላንድ ጄኔቫ ከተማ በሚቀጥለው ዓመት በሚኪያሄደው የዩሮ ሲኒማ ፊልም ፌስቲቫል ግማሽ ፍፃሜ መድረሱም ተነግሮናል:: ቀደም ሲል ጣሊያን ፖዶቫ ከተማ ውስጥ በዓለም አቀፍ የአጭር ፊልም ውድድር 1ኛ መውጣቱ ይታወሳል:: ግርታ ፊልም በአፍሪቃ ፊልም ፌስቲቫል በልዩ ዐይን የሚታየው እና በሁለት ዓመት አንዴ በሚከናወነው ፌስፓኮ ፊልም ፌስቲቫል እንዲሁም የበርሊኑ ፊልም ኢኒሼቲቭ አጭር ፊልም ፌስቲቫሎች ላይ የመጨረሻ ዙር ተወዳዳሪ መሆኑም ይጠቀሳል

Johnny :What is the main theme for “Gerreta” movie?

Mantegaftot :The main theme of “Gerreta” is collective madness of acting without reflecting on the facts of what happened. We wanted to show through our short film how in our generation many of us driven away by emotions than reason. The title by itself has double meaning: Gerreta means in Amharic, Ethiopian official language, both “confusion” and “mob.”  You can see in the film how a mob developed within fractions of seconds and a father of two chased away by this confused mob. The plot goes like this: a local thief in a bakery suddenly yells “THIEF!” at a young father, who just wants to buy one loaf of bread for his hungry children, an angry mob starts wildly chasing the young father away.Take it in politics, media or other activities of our life this confusion or collective madness seems a norm in our generation.

የግርታ ፊልም ጭብጥ የሚያውጠነጥነው የሚሆነውን ነገር ሳናጤን የምንነዳበትን የጋራ እብደታችንን ማሳየቱ ላይ ነው:: ሰው ከማገናዘብ ይልቅ በስሜት ሲነዳ የሚከሰተውን በፊልሙ ለማሳየት ጥረናል:: የፊልሙ ርእስ “ግርታ” በራሱ ጣምራ ትርጉም የያዘ ነው:: “ግር ብሎ መጏዝ” እና “ግራ መጋባት” የሚል ትርጏሜን ይይዛል:: ይህ ግርታ በፖለቲካውም በመገናኛ ብዙኅንም ሆነ በማናችውም የቀን ተቀን እንቅስቃሴያችን የሚስተዋል ነው

Johnny :Why is your movie selected?

Mantegaftot : (I do not want to brag about John. Only juries or people who have got a chance to watch „Gerreta“ can tell about it.However, so far the film gets good critique because of its contribution to a social cause.

ፊልሜ ለምን እንደተመረጠ የመረጡት ዳኞች እና ፊልሙን የማየት እድል ያገኙት ቢናገሩ ይሻላል:

Johnny:  I remember you have done quiet a bit of TV commercials , radio plays, Tv drama. And now, movies. And you are also a producer at Dutswevelle radio .How do you find balance in doing all these?

Mantegaftot :Yes, it is quite challenging but in one way or the other it’s all about story telling; and somehow you find balance for your passion.

በእርግጥም ፈታኝ ነው:: ግን በዚህም አለ በዚያ ሁሉም ታሪክ የመተረክ ሂደቶች ናቸው:: እናም እንደምንም ብለህ ሁሉንም የምታመጣጥንበት መንገድ አታጣም::

Johnny: Any plans for a feature film and any message?

Mantegaftot : My long term goal is producing high quality standard feature films. Until then I want to produce some more short films. By the way, producing short film is more challenging than feature.

Whatever the challenge too big is and our dream obscure we should not give up until we reach to where we want to reach.

የረዥም ጊዜ እቅዴ የጥራት ደረጃቸው ከፍ ያሉ ፊቸር ፊልሞችን መሥራት ነው:: እስከዚያው ድረስ ግን ተጨማሪ አጫጭር ፊልሞችን መሥራት እፈልጋለሁ:: በነገራችን ላይ አጭር ፊልም መሥራት ከረዥሙ ይልቅ ይበልጥ ፈታኝ ነው::

መቼም የሚገጥመን ተግዳሮት የቱንም ያህል ብርቱ ቢሆን ህልማችንም የደበዘዘ መስሎ ቢታየን መድረስ የምንሻው  ቦታ እስክንደርስ  በምንም መለኩ ተስፋ መቁረጥ የለብንም:


Thank you Mantegaftot  for taking the time to talk to ethiofidel.com 



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