Ethiopian cinema, as well as the film industry in general, is a relatively new phenomena in the country. The Ethiopian film industry is thriving, but it is beset by issues that have kept it from reaching its full potential. In the past, live stage theater was more popular in Ethiopia, which resulted in a small number of relatively successful stage actors. Ethiopian films have been modernizing during the 2000s, incorporating Amharic language, however due to widespread home video and DVD distribution, copyright infringement and piracy have hampered their progress. This was reduced in the early 2010s as a result of government involvement and policy imposition. Despite recent progress, Ethiopian film production has remained low-quality in comparison to world premieres with a cheap budget unprofessional approach. Ethiopian cinema opened in 1898, three years after the world’s first film was shown on December 25, 1895. However, as a result of continuous sociopolitical unrest, the growth rate has slowed dramatically. The Ethiopian film industry, which has been associated with cultural, religious, and national backgrounds for decades due to political pressure, has advanced historical and documentary films.
In a 2003 article for Annales d’Ethiopie, Berhanou Abebbé claimed that a Frenchman brought the first cinematic artifacts to Ethiopia in 1898, which he sold to Italian minister Federico Ciccodicola. Ciccodicola then made a present to Emperor Menelik II. The Majesty saw various films over decades, according to historians Berhanou and Richard Pankhurst’s writings, before the first public film screening in (1909–1910). Ethiopians completed and built the first cinema house in 1923. MM. Baicovich owned the first cinema house, Pate, from 1909 to 1910, according to Berhanou. People were unsatisfied with seeing movies during the earliest period of cinema’s arrival. “People obviously didn’t like to entertain themselves,” Berhanou quoted French historian Merab in Impressions d’Ethiopie (1922).