February 5th, 2015 AWiB program recap

In February AWiB celebrated a great female icon Asnakech Worku, a pioneer who paved the way to many female artists and who became exemplary in showing courage to change her world and ours through the most powerful medium known to human kind—Music. A brave soul, Asnakech became a beacon of hope not only to female artists but to all artists in Ethiopia.

“Asni” the documentary, was Produced & Directed by an up & coming young Ethiopian, Rachel Samuel. The co-producer and photographer of the documentary is Adam Overton, and the editor of the documentary,Yemane Edjigu Demissie, who is a renowned professor at NYU and is also a Director & Editor a few documentaries and movies pertinent to Ethiopia.

Looking at the caliber of people that came for AWIB’s elaborate dinner and screening of the controversial yet cultural revolutionist Asnaketch Worku’s documentary “Asni”, one could see that her life & journey had touched people from every generation and all walks of life.

Members and non-members were escorted to dinner plus networking in the hallway, before being led to the main hall for the screening of, Asni, the documentary and Q&A with Rahel, the Director as well as her husband the producer.  As the documentary was being screened you can see the over 180 audience being mesmerized by the untold story, laughing, crying and clapping in joy and harmony, making this documentary of a rare footage, interesting cinematography, uniquely edited, and professionally presented  as observed by many after the screening.

Before the screening of Asni, AWIBs board had a little administrative work such as showing people the mini-video of AWIBs annual work, as well as AWiB programs and then introduced the board members that diligently work to run AWIBs many function.

After the ending applause of the documentary, Rahel and her husband Sam were asked to address a few questions that the audience was eager to ask. The audience was also curious about the availability of DVDs  to which Rahel replied that distributors are welcome to have a discussion with her, but also that they were thinking sometime in April to get the DVD out to the public, but at the moment, they are focusing on festivals, and events internationally to screen Asni, before releasing on DVD.

As the evening became more intense,issues on how the documentary was done, who funded it, and a kind of collaboration they received from others in the making of the film were further discussed. Rahel with her graceful demeanor answered that her & her husband fully funded the project, which started awhile back, when Rahel was inspired by Asnis life story and was passionate enough to start the process of documenting her story as well as those that were alive & able to share a bit of Asni’s story with her, such as Tilahun Gessese, and others.

Rahel also shared with us some of the challenges of doing such an ambitious project, and further affirmed that since the documentary is a raw account of Asnaketch, a few people have asked scenes such as instances where Asnaketch is a bit vulgar and open about her relationships with married men and such to be omitted. But Rahel stated that Asni was a superb all rounded artist of her time, who could sing, dance, play instruments, act, write poetry, and was a liberated and free woman that stood for Freedom of expression, thus it wouldn’t be her full story if we omitted what fits her audience. And as we follow her journey, in the eyes of her lovers, friends, acquaintances and family, we get to see a fuller, broader, simpler yet complex phenomenal woman named Asnaketch Worku that challenged society to see things with love, passion and a sense of freedom.

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