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Ethiopian Oscar Contender Set For Palm Springs


The Palm Springs International Film Festival, the first major film event of the 2011 film calendar, is known, among other things, for its embrace of films being considered for the Academy Awards in the Best Foreign Language Film category. The Festival routinely screens most of the films eligible, screening the films that the countries themselves have put forward for nomination. This offers a wide and diverting survey of the state of world cinema.

One interesting title this year is THE ATHLETE (ATLETU), Ethiopia’s Official Academy Award Entry, will make its West Coast bow at the event. The film is Ethiopia's first ever entry in the Oscars race and has been a hit on the international film festival circuit.winning the Rotterdam Film Festival’s Lion’s Award, Edinburgh’s Best of Fest Award, Berkshires’ Audience Award, Stockholm’s Best Film Award. Nashville’s Jury Award, Minneapolis’ Best of Fest, Tarifa, Spain’s Audience Award, among many others. The film took home top honors at the 7th annual Bahamas International Film Festival earlier this month.

Based on a true story of Abebe Bikila, THE ATHLETE is about the barefoot Ethiopian marathon runner who won the Rome Olympics in 1960, the first black African to win an Olympic gold. The film is also a current example of  truly global low-budget independent feature filmmaking. Made jointly by Ethiopian and American filmmakers, Rasselas Lakew and Davey Frankel, the movie was shot on 35mm film from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, by a crew representing 10 nations.

Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew , who also plays the lead, will be attending the Palm Springs International Film Festival, just as Oscar nominations are being announced. The film, while a longshot, could have just the right amount of audience appeal to break through. For more information on the film, visit: For more information on the Palm Beach International Film Festival, visit:

Sandy Mandelberger, Festival Circuit Editor


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About Festival Circuit

Mandelberger Sandy
(International Media Resources)

Coverage of the world of film festivals on the international film festival circuit.

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