As a new generation of young people who were born abroad to Ethiopian parents comes of age, several voices have emerged to tell the story of their heritage through music, literature and film. The Texas-born, 29-year-old filmmaker Messay Getahun is a rising star among them, with his debut motion picture,Lambadina, making the rounds of film festivals across North America and picking up numerous nominations and awards over the past two years. The film was selected as “Best Film” at the Pan-African Film Festival in Los Angeles, as well as the Montreal International Black Film Festival and the San Francisco Black Film Festival. Finally, after much anticipation, Lambadina will premier in several theaters across Addis Ababa in September. Simultaneously, the movie will debut online for viewers around the world on the new Ethiopian streaming video site- VXEthiopia.com.
Lambadina is a story of a young man named Joseph who endures difficult circumstances during the turmoil of the Derg regime in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — including the loss of his father and the love of his life. Years later, when he is granted permanent residency in the United States, he sets out to find the woman he fell in love with as a young man. The movie has been very well received by Ethiopian diaspora audiences at special screenings in cities including Dallas, Minneapolis and Seattle. But for Messay, who also stars in the film, it has always been his primary goal to release the film in Ethiopia.
“My ultimate desire in in making this film wasn’t just to make a film, but to tell our Ethiopian story to the Western world,” he adds.
As the Ethiopian cinema industry continues to grow, the diversity of the global Ethiopian experience is increasingly being seen in the films that are being produced. With its high production quality and youthful energy, Lambadina raises the bar for Ethiopian filmmaking while presenting a heartwarming story to which audiences around the world — Ethiopian or not — can relate.
For information on upcoming screenings, please visit lambadinamovie.com.
Source: Selamta, The Magazine of Ethiopian Airlines