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Ethiopian Youth Storytellers: From Addis Ababa to International Acclaim with MTF

Across the vibrant tapestry of Africa, young storytellers dream of weaving their unique visions into captivating narratives. The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF), a one-year fully funded film scholarship, steps in as the weaver’s loom, offering a life-changing film scholarship program for these aspiring auteurs. In Ethiopia, MTF has become a fertile ground for exceptional talent, enriching lives and propelling the careers of these young visionaries.
Four bright Ethiopian stars are currently enrolled in the program, honing their craft at the MTF Eastern African Academy in Nairobi, Kenya. However, the program’s impact extends far beyond the classroom walls. Eight talented Ethiopian alumni are already leaving their mark, not just on the Ethiopian media landscape, but on the international stage as well, a testament to the transformative power of MTF.

Left to Right, above: FisehatsihonNibret, Yoseph Baye, Nahusenay Dereje, Melkamu Haile
Left to Right, bottom: Habtamu Mekonen, Mihret Werede, Henock Teshome, Elshaday Birhanu

FISEHATSION NIBRET: FROM CAPTURING LIGHT TO BUILDING DREAMS

FisehatsionNibret, a pioneer from the inaugural MTF class, has transcended the role of a mere cinematographer. Today, he stands as a successful filmpreneur, owning ROHA Studio, a thriving production and post-production house.
Fisehatsion collaborates with leading advertising firms on major commercial projects, his artistry gracing popular Ethiopian productions like “Enatwa Gonder” and the acclaimed telenovela “Adey.”Fisehatsion’s story exemplifies how MTF empowers graduates to not just excel in their chosen fields but to become creative leaders who shape the industry itself.

YOSEPH BAYE: A RISING STAR WITH AWARDS RECOGNITION

Yoseph Baye, the founder of Zeye Films, has become a name synonymous with captivating commercials. His talent transcends mere recognition – Yoseph’s short film “Egna” (meaning “Us” in Amharic) garnered the prestigious Kalasha Award in 2022 as Best International Short Film (Eastern Africa). This remarkable achievement speaks volumes about the powerful storytelling he honed under the tutelage of MTF.

HABTAMU MEKONEN: A PIONEER FORGING A NEW PATH

Habtamu Mekonen’s journey is equally, if not even more, impressive. While nearing completion of his Master’s degree in Film, Habtamu also shares his knowledge as a part-time filmmaking instructor, inspiring the next generation. In 2023, Habtamu etched his name in history as the first young East African International Emmy-winning filmmaker, a testament to the exceptional caliber of talent nurtured by MTF. His recent grant from Dalberg Media and Merck for his Bilharzia Storytelling Lab project further underscores his dedication to impactful storytelling.

A CONSTELLATION OF ETHIOPIAN TALENT

The impact of MTF extends beyond these singular stars.
Melkamu Haile, another graduate, serves as the Head Writer for a prominent Showmax series.

Nahusenay Dereje, a fellow alumnus, manages the production company established by Fisehatsion, Yoseph, and Melkamu – a testament to the collaborative spirit fostered by MTF. Their company is currently finalizing a deal with Showmax, showcasing their talent on a global platform.

Elshaday Birhanu, another rising star, balances her work on the popular telenovela “Afaf” with the upcoming premiere of her short film on Zee World.

Mihiret Werede leverages her MTF training as an Assistant Director on a Showmax series, while also taking on freelance commercial projects.

Henock Teshome, another graduate, works as a Line Producer on a Showmax series. Both Henock and Mihiret, along with Habtamu, have formed their own company, further demonstrating the collaborative and entrepreneurial spirit nurtured by MTF.

SEIZING THE LENS, SHAPING STORIES: HENOCK TESHOME EMBODIES THE MTF SPIRIT
“Carpe diem” is a guiding principle for Henock Teshome, another Ethiopian MTF alumni. “And ‘Seize the lens, shape your story’ is a saying I utilize in my work as a filmmaker,” he adds. Henock’s words capture the very essence of MTF. A young filmmaker from Ethiopia, deeply committed to his craft, Henock exemplifies the program’s dedication to fostering eager learners with a thirst for knowledge. His journey, which began with a certificate in filmmaking and has blossomed into diverse production experience, showcases the practical skills and industry exposure MTF provides.
The stories of these Ethiopian filmmakers are a powerful testament to the transformative power of the MultiChoice Talent Factory. MTF isn’t just about education; it’s about empowering young Africans to tell their stories, enrich their communities, and become the next generation of filmmaking leaders. From the heart of Addis Ababa to the international spotlight, Ethiopian storytellers are thriving with the opportunities provided by MTF. Their achievements on prestigious platforms like the Kalasha Awards and the EMMY Awards stand as a beacon of inspiration for aspiring filmmakers across the continent.

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