ESFNA documentary movie is going into production

Ethiopians of all back ground gather every year
Ethiopians of all back ground gather every year to celebrate their unique heritage and culture. ©EMF

After the initial idea to produce the Ethiopian Sports Federation in North America (ESFNA) documentary movie at ESFNA‘s Seattle 2006 event, and after various negotiation for the start of production, the making of the movie is now fully underway. Addis Arts and Culture (AAC) Production Company has taken the project of producing the 25years history of the ESFNA.

Tizita Assefa, Director of the film telling the 25 year ESFNA story
Tizita Assefa, Director of the film telling the 25 year ESFNA story, at RFK stadium in Washington, DC. ©EMF.

Tizita Assefa, Director of the yet untitled film telling the 25 year ESFNA story, with Production Company Addis Arts and Culture, is pleased to announce that despite some hurdles, the film is going into production!

Editors of EMF and Abbaymedia had the opportunity to speak with her in Washington, DC about her documentary film which is scheduled to be released in December of this year.

Tizita, along with Addis Arts and culture (AAC), realizes the importance of the experience in bringing Ethiopians together-ESFNA’s motto, and found it should be documented. The team is capturing hours of video from ESFNA’s 25th anniversary and collecting archived videos of the past years. When all is done, the core idea is to turn the videos into a-two-hour documentary film.

“We are producing this documentary for three main reasons,” Says Tizita. “First and foremost, we want to tell the
story creatively and completely. Secondly, to show that ESFNA is beyond a soccer tournament: the movie explores the political,
social and economic aspects of ESFNA and thirdly, we hope to reveal the many faces of ESFNA, young and old;
families and couples; fans, vendors, volunteers… and how ESFNA’s identity has become what it is today.”

Editors of EMF and Abbaymedia
Editors of EMF and Abbaymedia speaking with Tizita Assefa in Washington, DC. ©EMF

The Ethiopian Sport and Culture Federation in North America (ESFNA) has played a vital role to the Ethiopian Diaspora in the past twenty-five years. It has certainly helped children in cultural awareness; helped several political and religious organizations promote their cause by availing large number of Ethiopians, etc., not to mention the economic side of which scores benefit from the crowd.

Making the film has had some challenges according to Tizita. The difficulty to show the essence of this big gathering in film is the first challenge the team had to face. It is difficult to exactly know why the youth is gathering. Budget dependency and budget constraint is another problem on making the film on time. Modifying the film is yet another challenge in making the documentary. Unlike a narrative film, the AAC team has no script to follow and there is no specific story. As ESFNA is also a bit disorganized, it has created problems on the film. “We have no scripts, couldn’t plan interviews or locations for the documentary. We have a bunch of raw material of events, interviews, archives and video films of the ESFNA occurrences. ” Tizita said. “So we get together to discuss and shape the film on regular basis.”

Ababa Tesfaye Sahlu
Ababa Tesfaye Sahlu, the guest of honor, ESFNA 25th Silver Jubilee. ©EMF

Tizita emphasizes the need to have such events documented by repeating Ababa Tesfaye’s message: “Thank you for telling the story” during her shot at RFK stadium in Washington, DC where Ababa Tesfaye was an honorable guest of ESFNA’s 25th Silver Jubilee.

Tizita told us that Addis Arts and Culture (AAC) has already released Lalibela: Wonders and Mysteries which was produced in 2007 and currently available on the DVD market; and that two more documentaries, Gondar: An African Civilization, and Dermesheh: Humans and Hyenas in Harar will be screened in various US cities in the coming month or two.

It is commendable for AAC to take upon the task of documenting and promoting Ethiopia for Ethiopians, a task which a responsible government should have done.

The Director, Tizita Assefa can be reached thru AAC, at

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Posted by on July 24, 2008. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.