Flamboyant Chinese businesswoman Motto needs every bit of mettle and charm she can muster to drive forward the biggest Chinese industrial park in Ethiopia. Having staked their future on the promise of industrialization, Ethiopian farmer Workinesh and factory worker Beti - like their country - find themselves at a crossroads.
Set in a massive Chinese business park with around 20,000 workers, The film follows three women as they navigate the bumpy expansion of the industrial park through the pandemic and a civil war. Their struggles and resilience highlight challenges billions of people face across the developing world. As their stories unfold, MADE IN ETHIOPIA asks us to think about the relationship between tradition and progress, profit and welfare, the prosperity of a country and the wellbeing of its people.
"Made in Ethiopia tells the human story of one of the most important and least understood issues of our time - China’s profound and growing impact on Africa - and offers an intimate look at how Ethiopia’s industrialization is transforming individual lives, communities and the land they live on."
Director Xinyan Yu
Xinyan Yu is an award-winning video journalist and filmmaker based in Washington DC. Born and raised in Wuhan, China, Xinyan started her journalism career in 2012 working as a producer for BBC News in Beijing. She has covered major breaking news, from the Rohingya refugee crisis to the 2020 US Presidential Election, across Asia and North America for a decade. Now an independent filmmaker, Xinyan has directed, produced, filmed and edited short and long-form content for international broadcasters including the BBC, NHK, PBS NOVA, PBS Frontline and Channel New Asia. Xinyan is a New America National Fellow, a Firelight Media Doc Lab fellow, a Brown Girls Doc Mafia Sustainable Artist fellow and an alumnus of the Yaddo Residency.
Max Duncan is a British filmmaker, journalist and cinematographer with over a decade’s experience working internationally. His work has shown on platforms including the BBC, Al Jazeera, the Guardian and the New York Times and been exhibited at galleries including Tate Modern and NY Guggenheim. Now based in Madrid, he previously lived for a decade in China and speaks fluent Mandarin. His short films tell urgent social issues and global trends through intimate portraits. His Pulitzer-supported half-hour DOWN FROM THE MOUNTAIN (2018), which profiled a family pulled apart by labor migration in rural China, won a World Press Photo award. His other work has received recognition including Webby and One WorldMedia Awards and a Vimeo Staff Pick. MADE IN ETHIOPIA is his first feature-length project
Tamara Dawit is an Ethiopian-Canadian producer with a decade of experience producing factual TV content and feature films. She is an alumnus of EAVE, Berlin Talents, the Doha Film Institute Producers Lab, Producers Au Sud, Rotterdam Lab and the Apost Lab. She has produced documentaries including FORGOTTEN CHILDREN (2007), GRANDMA KNOWS BEST (2014), GIRL OF LATITUDE (2008), and she directed FINDING SALLY (2020). In Ethiopia, Tamara has produced factual TV programming for CBC/Radio Canada, ZDF, MTV, CTV, NHK, Bravo and other networks.
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