A year ago, Yidnekachew Shumete was one of 3 Ethiopian filmmakers selected for a week-long visit to Monaco and Cannes for workshops, programs and events happening during the 2012 Cannes Film Festival in May. 

Shumete, along with Henok Mebratu and Olisarali Olibui Tongolu, were selected by the International Emerging Film Talent Association (IEFTA) and the Ethiopian Film Initiative (EFI). On their trip to Cannes, they met a range of international distributors, sales agents, producers, directors and film commissioners at the festival, and also had one-on-one sessions with established producers and production companies.

The goal of the ongoing initiative is to help raise the international profile of Ethiopian films, by presenting the country’s best young filmmakers and helping them establish themselves in the international film marketplace.

During his Cannes meetings, Shumete pitched his upcoming project, titled Nishan (or Medal Of Honor), which he did eventually get produced and completed, and which made its debut at FESPACO in February, in competition.

Nishan, produced by Kurat pictures Plc, in co-production with Filmgalerie 451, Berlin, tells the story of…

… a young woman who navigates deceptive and dangerous circumstances to preserve her independence, protect her family and realize her ambitions.

Shot in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the film stars Bertukan Befkadu, Feleke Abebe, Tewodros Sifraye, and Alebachew Mekonnen.

Now on the international film festival circuit, Nishan is Yidnekachew’s second feature film.

A widely respected director in Addis Ababa, as well as a cameraman, editor, teacher and screenwriter, his first feature film was the suspense drama Siryet (released in 2007). 

Nishan will screen next at the Seattle International Film Festival on June 5 and 6.

Check out its trailer below: