Close to a thousand individuals were on hand to view the first screening in New York City of the documentary titled ‘Man of the Millennium’-An historical account of the life and times of Emperor Haile Selassie I. The Ethiopian and Rastafarian community filled the Oberia Dempsey Center on West 127th Street in Harlem, NY this past Saturday night. Produced by 28 year old filmmaker Tikher Teferra, this documentary aims to search and tell the story of the Last Emperor of Ethiopia. Teferra was inspired to tell this story because he felt “We, the new generation don’t know our history, even worse we are being told false history just for the sake of political propaganda.” Despite the obstacles Teferra faced in making the film, ‘Man of the Millennium’ is a must see, especially for the younger generation.
The documentary begins with earlier accounts that goes back to Biblical times and sets the stage to tell the story of Haile Selassie I from his childhood days. There are several video footages of the Emperor, and detail historical accounts by several individuals including Professor Merid Wolde Aragay from Addis Ababa University. The film focuses on the various achievements of the Emperor, from reforms in education to the modernization of Ethiopia. The Emperor’s effort to work toward peace in the Horn of Africa and his diplomatic efforts to work toward freedom in not only Ethiopia but in Africa is also showcased. There is also an interview with a Rastafarian who explains what His Imperial Majesty means to Rastafarianism. On a lighter note, we learn that the Emperor was a fan of various films. Mainly films about history, education and governance. The story concludes with the fall of the Emperor and the coming in to power of Mengistu Hailemariam. Members of the audience walked away being enlightened of new facts which they did not previously know about the Emperor. The audience is also left to wonder, if the way Selassie’s story ended was correct. A question that will be in the hearts of many after watching the documentary.
The making of the documentary proved to be a challenge for various reasons and as Teferra states “Many people love and respect His Imperial Majesty, yet, most are still afraid to associate their name with such project. So I had to take all the responsibility of producing, directing, and editing the film with my own expense.” This proved to be a defining moment, in which he mentions “tested my faith.” Teferra is thankful to 4th Avenue Film who saw that he needed help in finishing up the project and co-produced the documentary with his company Exodus Films.
Teferra states, “It would be nice to urge the Ethiopian people that the time has come for us to return back to who we are and learn from our mistakes, because without embracing our past, there cannot certainly be any bright future.” With this goal in mind, Teferra is continuing his work. He mentions the current projects that he is working on are the story of Dogali and Emperor Yohaness and Ras Alula. “I picked up this story because little is told about Emperor Yohaness. However, in history we find Dogali to be the first ever victory of a black nation to defeat European colonizers – the Italians. The victory of Dogali is even before Adowa.” Understanding the success of future projects is only possible with the united effort of willing people, Teferra makes a call for producers to get involved in his future projects.
For list of upcoming shows please visit: http://www.4thavenuefilms.com/