Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Ethiopian Natalie Portman

(05/05/2012, Huffington post)--Two years ago, at the Toronto International Film Festival, I stood up and asked a daring question to actress Natalie Portman. I was covering the event for a local Ethiopian-Canadian newspaper and knew she had recently visited the country. I asked her about Ethiopian film making and if she had any future plans to take some of her work there for a public showing.

While the whole room eyed me with confusion, Ms. Portman answered how much she liked being involved in charity work in Ethiopia and how much she was struck by the beauty and humility of the Ethiopians she had met on her brief visit. For her, Ethiopia meant charity.

My question not being answered, I sat down and heard more mainstream news outlets ask such friendly questions as the name of her hair stylists, if she had a boyfriend and many similar inquiries. The experience left me determined to expose myself to Ethiopian film making on a visit to my home country. While there, I visited many cinemas and theatres and was pleasantly surprised to discover that most were always sold out with local Ethiopian-made movies.

The movies are of good quality with strong performances. Surprisingly, movie-making has become a mainstream business in Ethiopia and there are many talented actors and actresses being afforded opportunities to showcase top-notch talents. Young actress, Meseret Mebrate, made famous by the local soap Gemena and dozens of films, is one of the emerging stars. Read more from Huffington post »

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