MELKAM ZENA - GOOD NEWS
with VALENTINA CARNELUTTI and ROLANDO RAVELLO
Valentina (director of the documentary “Melkam Zena” and actress who collaborates with ActionAid) accompanies Rolando (actor, director and spokesperson for ActionAid), from Addis Ababa along an intense journey through the Ankober region (Ethiopia), where the encounter with local population becomes an occasion to confront each other on issues such as poverty, responsibility, and work of NGOs. Filmed in November and December 2011, the documentary is an ensemble of interviews and travel images, as well as conversations and lyrical moments in which the main characters are the workers and women, and women workers of Ankober, rooted in a landscape that is strong and extraordinary, harsh and beautiful. An unusual mixture of travel tale and social research in which the discussion aims at going deeper, and deeper than mere conversations about poverty and difficulties of so-called Third World.
Life in Ankober is told by its inhabitants in a constant confrontation and meditation on the possibilities and ‘impossibilities' (mainly political) of ActionAid to carry out its work. From the eldest of the village to the youngest children in the area, Rolando and Valentina meet and talk to the people, they share their growth and seek for an observation point of view capable to escape the obvious, confronting each other on the meaning of personally taking responsibility.
ActionAid is an independent organization committed to fighting the causes of poverty and social exclusion. Present in over 50 countries, ActionAid works primarily through long-term programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
VALENTINA CARNELUTTI SAYS...
“…nature has taken the place of stink, of cement. Small houses in mud with holes and tin, shiny water green and blue and nothing. Rubbish burning aside of the street, a dog smells.
In the room in the evening it smells cat’s pee and at night comes an odor of bread, ferengi furno. Woods of eucalyptus sawed down by the owner of the blue hotel to carry on his oven. There’s a chair, the bed, a small carpet, a mustard yellow curtain. A pair of slippers. It’s all that’s needed. I have all I need.”
Then I quit writing the diary, and the days became a movie: Melkam Zena, good news. Those that government concocts to the people, those I really hope to be able to bring with ActionAid to Ankober. A land, fertile with seeds and people, welcome and will. Supported by women, scattered with children, who patiently ask for an all weather road. To be able to go to school, to the market, to town to get medicines… So the only way to move around may cease to be just donkeys, or legs. “They walk. All day they walk. At six in the evening it’s real dark, and cold. Wake up at 4 tomorrow, for the shooting in the church, prayers begin at night. Then the women. Ask with courage. Convey within the documentary the sense of all this sense (in the conversations with Rolando, red thread…) Don’t dwell on poverty. Value the qualities, that must be supported and developed and sustained. Irony, critical sense, decency.”
There. Some weeks later we came back to Italy and the trip really turned into a film. My first one. Too short to be exhaustive, but soaked of my curiosity which I hope shall be contagious. Thank you, ahmesugenalew.
Director: Valentina Carnelutti
Photographer: Massimo Schiavon
Editor: Cristian Dondi
Original soundtrack: Luca Fogagnolo and Francesco Gazzara
With the friendly participation of: Valentina Carnelutti and Rolando Ravello
Producer: Valentina Carnelutti
Camera Operator 1: Massimo Schiavon
Camera Operator 2: Cristian Dondi
Colorist: Cristian Dondi
Sound Editing & Mix: Simone Cazzaniga
Translations and Consultant for Amharic Dagmawi Yimer
English translations: Valentina Carnelutti