Magazine article Screen International

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Difret

Magazine article Screen International

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Difret

Article excerpt

The Ethiopian filmmaker talks to Elbert Wyche about his drama, which plays at Sundance.

"Difret in its widest meaning is courage," says Zeresenay Berhane Mehari. "The second meaning is the act of being raped."

Mehari's Ethiopian World Cinema Dramatic competition entry recounts the story of an Ethiopian lawyer who defends a 14-year-old girl charged with killing a man who attempts to abduct her into marriage.

Mehari grew up in the then dictatorial Ethiopia. He knew from an early age that film-making was his calling and won a Diversity Visa lottery to go to the US, where he worked two jobs and got scholarships, grants and loans to pay for his USC education.

When the director learned that he had been accepted into Sundance he called his wife, a producer on the film, screaming with joy. …

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