Ethiopian modern filmmaking dates back about 60 years, with the production of “Who is Hirut’s Father?” to “Guma” and then “Aster.” Aside from feature films, those decades saw the emergence of documentaries by famous experts in the field such as Solomon Bekele and Haile Gerima, two of Ethiopia’s most well-known individuals who are also veterans of the country’s film industry. The Ethiopian Film Corporation was founded by the Derg to produce primarily documentary films that showcased the country’s economic “successes” and were used as propaganda tools. The Ethiopian Film Corporation, a government-run organization, was founded for this purpose. Despite this, the firm lacked the requisite funding and qualified staff to encourage film production in any genre.
When veteran director Solomon Bekele made “Aster,” which was well-received by critics and the general public, the Corporation reluctantly bore the money for its production, but Solomon received no compensation.
Since then, Solomon has advocated for the government to develop a national cinema policy that will promote the sector, attract investors, and inspire young and upcoming talent to enter the industry. Regrettably, his efforts have not yet yielded the intended consequences, and film continues to be an art form that lacks the necessary official support for its development.