Ethiopian Filmmakers Win International Award
A group of young Ethiopian filmmakers named Gem TV, many of whom were street kids, have won the 2012 Special Award at the One World Media Awards in London.
NEW BUSINESS ETHIOPIA (Addis Ababa) – The Special Award, which is sponsored by the Thomson Media Foundation, recognises an outstanding project working on the ground in the developing world where media activity has made a real impact on people’s lives.
Standing alongside nominees who included the BBC, ITN and other leading international media organizations, Gem TV Film Director, Adanech Admassu, received the award saying that she hoped it would raise the profile of Gem TV’s work in Ethiopia where they have made films for UNICEF, UNDP, Oxfam, Water Aid and Womankind amongst others.
GemTV films have addressed key issues such as girls’ education, health and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) and many other developing world issues.
Clutching the Special Award, Adanech also spoke of Gem TV’s pioneering work in producing behaviour change drama films, which not only raise awareness of issues but have inspired people all over Ethiopia to make positive changes and improve their lives for themselves. Shown in the Ethiopian parliament, their film, Stolen Childhood, was a drama-documentary which addressed early marriage and told the true-life story of how a young girl from the countryside was condemned to a life on the streets.
Its searing portrayal left the members of parliament shocked and played a role in getting new legislation passed. That’s the difference a Gem TV film can make. Adanech stressed that coming from underprivileged backgrounds themselves, the Gem TV film-makers bring a unique insight into the issues their films address as well as an acute cultural awareness.
Speaking on behalf of all the Gem TV filmmakers, she said that what made this award extra special was that it wasn’t for a single film but recognised Gem TV’s long-term commitment to filmmaking in Ethiopia, and celebrated the positive effect their films have made to countless people over many years.
GemTV is part of the Gemini Foundation, a local Ethiopian NGO founded 27 years ago by Dr. Carmela Green-Abate, that assists families with twins living in the slums in Addis Ababa.