IEFTA and EFI have brought three Ethiopian filmmakers to Monaco and Cannes for workshops, programmes and events happening during the 2012 Festival de Cannes.
On Saturday at Cannes, a small group of American and international journalists, filmmakers, actors and industry members, myself included, were whisked away from Cannes to Monte Carlo for an evening of celebration benefiting the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA) and the Ethiopian Film Initiative (EFI). The three filmmakers who have already made films (shown) in Ethiopia about various national subjects including tribes and sports are here in Cannes pitching their new projects and developing their careers. The evening’s hosts, including the very elegant home owner of the villa and president of IEFTA, Marco Orsini, and the fabulous organisation and event’s publicist Gary Springer introduced the filmmakers to the various guests throughout the night as everyone mingled in the beautiful garden of the Belle Epoque villa, drinking, eating and chatting away. I was happy to meet not only the filmmakers whose passion for film only rivalled their love for their country, but also the diverse evening guests who came from Monaco as well as all corners of the world. Actor Billy Zane (Titanic) who was one of the evening’s guests of honour was casually mingling with everyone in the garden as well, as conversations about international film initiatives, new global support for film production and education in third world countries such as Siera Leone was flowing as freely as the wine and champagne did.
Hours later the shiny black vans that brought us all to Monaco took us back to Cannes, but not before many new and exciting relationships were formed and new initiatives born. Energized by the experience I too was fuelled by renewed passion to support film and filmmakers in struggling countries throughout the world so hopefully we’ll see that manifest itself in this year’s Woodstock Film Festival and beyond. Our world is growing and evolving, there is much to do and much to support and I for one hope to do my own tiny part in an effort to make our world a better place for all to live in. And so I drink to that!
Text: Meira Blaustein
Image, from left: Marco Orsini, event host and president of IEFTA (International Emerging Film Talent Association), actor Billy Zane (Titanic) and Ethiopian filmmakers Henok Mebratu, Olisarali Tongolu and Yidnekachew Shumete Desalegn at the garden of the beautiful Belle Epoque villa in the heart of Monte Carlo.