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ZEMENE is a feature documentary about a young Ethiopian girl's bravery in the face of enormous odds. Living in a remote village with a rare curvature of the spine, Zemene struggles with ... See full summary »

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9 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Zemene Tiget Adababy ... Herself
Oheneba Boachie-Adjei ... Himself
Menormelkam Endashaw ... Himself
Rick Hodes ... Himself
Tesh Yana ... Himself
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ZEMENE is a feature documentary about a young Ethiopian girl's bravery in the face of enormous odds. Living in a remote village with a rare curvature of the spine, Zemene struggles with poverty, poor education, and potentially life-threatening illnesses. But a chance encounter in the streets of Gondar with Dr. Rick Hodes sets in motion a series of events that will change Zemene's life forever. Shot throughout the beautiful countryside of Ethiopia, the film is a poetic testament to the power and bonds of compassion and the potential within us all.

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Documentary

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28 September 2014 (USA)  »

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(HD)

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16:9 HD
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"Against all odds"
26 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

Zemene (2014) is a documentary directed by Melissa R. Donovan. The movie tells the story of a young Ethiopian woman--Zemene Tiget Adababy-- who was born with a severe spinal deformity. There are no facilities in Ethiopia for correcting this deformity. By incredible good luck, Zemene met Dr. Rick Hodes, a U.S. physician who lives in Ethiopia. He specializes in helping people with spinal deformities, and he was able to arrange for Zemene to receive the surgery she needed in Ghana.

By almost bizarre serendipity, director Donovan was in Ethiopia as a camerawoman. She was getting some footage of Dr. Hodes, so she was there when Hodes met Zemene. She was astute enough to start filming, right from the start. When she was done, Zemene had a straight back, and Donovan had this incredible documentary.

We saw this film at Rochester's Little Theatre, as part of the remarkable Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. (The tie-in is that Dr. Hodes is Jewish.)

Zemene is a wonderful person, and the documentary about her is wonderful as well. I hope this film goes into general release, because it's definitely worth seeing. It will work well on the small screen.

Note: Director Donovan was at the screening, and it was really a treat to hear her tell how the film got made, and what she learned while making this movie. My compliments to the RIJFF for bringing three filmmakers to the festival. That's an expensive and difficult challenge, but they did it.


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