Yared Zeleke | Filmmaker | Ethiopia

Africa Centre
May 20, 2016
Posted by Wanjiru Koinange
Tags: African Artists AIR2015 AIR 2015 AIR Residency Bellagio Centre Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre Yared Zeleke

Yared Zeleke is an Ethiopian film director from Addis Ababa. He has an M.F.A. in Writing and Directing from New York University. His first feature film, Lamb, was screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard. It is the first film from Ethiopia to have been officially selected in the festival’s 68-year history. In November 2015, Variety named Zeleke one of its “10 Screenwriters to Watch.”

In an interview with LA Times, Zeleke spoke of his inspiration for the film:

“The film was a way to heal my wounds, of having to leave my family at the age of 10. My father, he was imprisoned by the Derg regime [the communist military regime that was in power from 1974 to 1987] when I was very young. My mother remarried. So I was raised by my grandmother. My father, after he was imprisoned, he escaped to Japan — then he made it here [to the United States]. He brought me here. But I didn’t know him. He was a stranger. It was a huge disturbance for me.”

The Guardian described Lamb as ‘sheer brilliance’ and ‘a film to show your children – it might allow them an emotional connection to ways of life so rarely explored on film.’