Minasie Terefe: Securing funding is a major challenge

A kid shackled to his wheelchair suddenly finds himself doing unthinkable things. Which then changes the way he sees life forever.

What are the most formidable challenges inherent to the profession of filmmaking?

In my experience raising fund to complete or even begin a project is one of the biggest challenges for first-time filmmakers. Other than that, finding the right people that have the technical understanding and expertise to work with can also pose difficulty.

Could you elaborate on the wellspring of your creative inspiration for this particular short film?

We are in a death match with life! We fight and sometimes we thrive. But without notice a single incident comes and knocks us out blank. “Endegena” (Amharic for “Once again”) is made to encourage the many souls that suffered the same fate due to the devastation the pandemic brought to their homes.
Endegena | Poster
Minasie Terefe

Could you elucidate on the central thematic underpinning of your film?

Hope; the antidote of despair. The story is about the power of hope and how it can help us overcome our limitations and find strength even in the darkest of places. In such times, hope is our only hope; it is what we need; the will to say “Yes!” to the multitude of “No”s that surround us.

How do you navigate the task of strategizing cost-effective promotional efforts when operating within a constrained budget?

Promoting films with a budget constraint can be a daunting task. One cost-effective way I found to promote my works is to submit them to film festivals. If selected, film festivals often help me reach a new audience with a keen interest for the art of filmmaking.

In today's dynamic marketplace, how pivotal do you consider the role of film distribution?

In an industry inundated with same old ideas and execution, it can be challenging for new filmmakers to get the break they need. The problem lies not in the originality of our films but the distribution of it. That’s why I would argue that film distribution is as equally tasking as filmmaking.

For individuals contemplating the path of self-distribution, what counsel or insights can you offer?

Three ways – Crowdfunding, social media and film festivals

In your estimation, what level of significance do short films hold for aspiring filmmakers seeking to embark on a career in directing?

If you can’t tell a story in 90 seconds you can’t tell a story in 90 minutes. I believe short films provide cost-effective opportunities for exposure and allow us filmmakers to practice our craft before tackling larger projects. They will give us our 90 seconds if we can make it count.

Reflecting on your professional journey thus far, could you share an instance of the most formidable challenge you encountered and how you surmounted it?

In my country, animation is a new art form. Without prior examples to emulate, it was difficult to find a style to tell mature stories to such a demography. Short films helped me do exactly that and more as it helped me pique the public’s interest towards this new way of storytelling.

What, in your view, are the critical factors that contribute to the creation of a cinematic masterpiece?

A story worth telling is a story worth following. The characters, the screenplay, the cinematography, the music, the sound, the colors, even the directing are all servants of the story. It leads, they follow. That’s a cinematic masterpiece… all serving as pieces to the master that is the story.

If you could revisit the inception of your career, are there any aspects or decisions you would choose to alter in hindsight?

Yes, there is. I would fail more! Cause that’s the way to learn.
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