Zelalem Woldemariam Wins Focus Features’ Africa First Award for Short Films

New York (TADIAS) – NBC Universal’s Focus Features has named Ethiopian Filmmaker, Zelalem Woldemariam, as one of the recipients of its 2011 grant for short films from Africa.

Earlier last month, CEO of Focus Feature’s Africa First program, James Schamus, announced that their initiative exclusively for emerging filmmakers from Africa has awarded five artists $10,000 apiece. The grant is designed to help finance the production of a short film by each filmmaker.

“My film is about an Ethiopian drummer who learns about his identity and traditional music in an unexpected way,” Zelalem said in a recent interview with Tadias Magazine. Speaking about his film entitled Adamet (Listen), Zelalem adds: “I have always been fascinated by our music and I have wanted to do a film that showcases this rich and colorful part of our culture for a long time.”

“I’m continually impressed by the range of great young artists we meet through Africa First,” Mr. Schamus said in a statement. “Each filmmaker has a distinctive vision and voice, and I look forward to learning from them at our summit.”

“This means a lot for me and my Ethiopian filmmaker colleagues,” Zelalem said. “To be recognized by a Hollywood studio is a big deal.” He added: “Personally I hope it will open a lot of doors.”

About Zelalem

Ethiopian filmmaker and producer, Zelalem Woldemariam, directed and produced his first feature film “The 11th Hour” in 2005. The film enjoyed success in Ethiopia and over 8 international film festivals abroad.

In 2010, Zelalem wrote and directed a short film entitled “Lezare”, which went on to win the Best Short Film Youth Jury award at the Tarifa African Film Festival in Spain in May 2010.

Zelalem is also Executive Director of the Images That Matter International Short Film Festival of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and founder and general manager of Zeleman Production, a production company that has produced documentary films, television commercials and radio productions for both local and international NGO’s and businesses.

With the aspiration of enabling filmmakers in Ethiopia to create quality films that will be appreciated all over the world, Zelalem’s future goal is to establish a film school in Ethiopia that gives youth an opportunity to express their ideas and create a change for themselves and their country.

Sources: Tadias.com & Zeleman Production