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New Jolie film puts spotlight on Ethiopia’s child bride abductions

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An Ethiopian woman whose terrifying ordeal of kidnap and rape at the hands of her would-be husband inspired Angelina Jolie's new film Difret says she hopes her story will help end the tradition of child bride abductions. Difret, which is released in the United States on Friday, tells the story of Aberash Bekele who was put on trial for murder at the age of 14 after shooting dead her abductor in a case which sent shockwaves through Ethiopia. Bekele, who spent many years in exile after the trial, said she was inspired to speak out by Malala, the Nobel prize-winning girls' rights campaigner

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Difret – Moving Ethiopian drama focusing on the fight for a young girl’s freedom

There are a lot of good films being made in Africa and we rarely get to see any of them outside of festivals, so Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari’s eye-opening social justice drama, based on a groundbreaking true story, deserves an audience.14-year-old Hirut (Tizita Hagere) is on her way home from school when she is run down by men on horseback, abducted, beaten and raped. Her chief tormentor crows that she is now his 'bride' but, as she makes her escape, Hirut grabs his gun and, when cornered, shoots him. And although her poor farmer father had previously rejected her 'suitor', because of Hirut’s youth and desire for an education, much of the community is united in wanting her executed.

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ADFF: Funding Ethiopian film ‘Difret’ was a challenge – gulfnews.com

Angelina Jolie joined production team of Difret as executive producerIf the director and producers of Ethiopian film Difret were not having enough difficulty in funding the film, the fact that they insisted on making it in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language, made matters all the more complicated.“I thought [the plot] would be lost if I had done the film in English, and I wanted this film to mean something for Ethiopians, especially young girls in Ethiopia,” said Zeresenay Mehari, director of Difret, at a question-and-answer session following the film’s screening at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF) on October 28.

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