Actress Kidist Siyum & the film Fortuna (ተዋናይ ቅድስት ስዩም እና ፎርቱና ፊልም)

Ethiopian actress Kidist Siyum Beza is definitely going places with her career as an actress. The 19-year-old girl who is a student at Addis Ababa Art School has acted in her second film Fortuna, the story of young Ethiopian migrant who found shelter in a Swiss religious community .The black-and-white film written and directed by Franco-Swiss director and photographer Germinal Roaux, stars celebrated Swiss actor Bruno Ganz, French actor Patrick D’Assumçao and a young Ethiopian actor, Assefa Zerihun Gudeta.

The film was originally released in Switzerland on February 2018, earned two awards in the Berlin International Film Festival, and was featured on the 11th Angouleme Francophone Film Festival in France on August 24. It is expected to be in theatres in France on September 19.

Fortuna, the protagonist of the film played by Kidist, a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl, who has had no news of her parents since arriving in Lampedusa, Italy. Together with other refugees, she is given shelter in the snow-covered massif of the Swiss catholic hospice. While they wait for their fate to be decided by the Swiss authorities, Fortuna meets Kabir, a 26-year-old refugee, (played by Assefa) and falls desperately in love. Their relationship develops in secret, till the day Kabir disappears. “With a grand palette of images, from the violently churning sea to the sublimely menacing Alpine peaks, Germinal Roaux paints the portrait of a soul left stranded and attempts to fathom the limits of love,” a critic wrote.

Kidist was chosen for the role during a casting made in Addis Ababa 2016 when the director Germinal Roaux and Ruth Waldburger went there. “I first looked in Switzerland for the person to play the role of Fortuna. I quickly dropped the idea of working with applicants I had met and interviewed during the research and writing phase, because I could not someone who could evoke the character of an orphan with a distinct style of speaking and way of acting who just came from Africa, as the story was something traumatic and too personal.

Then a producer friend told me about Kidist and we went to Addis Ababa for a casting. And seeing her, I knew right away that i found the right actress in Kidist to bring the character of Fortuna to life,” Germinal said.

Kidist says she is close to the character of Fortuna, like her, she is very religious and loves animals. Kidist came and stayed four months in Switzerland for the shooting, where she came to experience fresh falling snow for the first time. She said she did not expect it would be that cold. This is the second film for the burgeoning actress, who has found praise playing Tsion, who refused to marry despite being the eldest unmarried girl in the village in Lamb, an internationally successful Ethiopian film Lamb directed by Yared Zeleke in 2015, premiered at Cannes film festival.

Kidist wants to continue acting in local and international films. At the moment, she is traveling to different parts of France with the director and team to promote the film.

Source: Ethiopian Observer


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