Avishai Mekonen’s new film 400 Miles to Freedom is premiering at the New York Jewish Film Festival. The film tells the story of Avishai’s journey from Ethiopia to Israel in 1984, and the kidnapping he endured as a child in Sudan during his community’s exodus. Screenings are January 11th at 3:45pm and January 18th at 6pm at the Walter Reade Theater; tickets available online.
Archive for the ‘avishai mekonen’ Category
Avishai Mekonen’s film premiereTuesday, January 10th, 2012
Avishai Mekonen’s Film Premieres in NYC!Thursday, December 15th, 2011
In 1984, the Beta Israel—a secluded 2,500-year-old community of observant Jews in the northern Ethiopian mountains—began a secret and dangerous journey of escape. Co-director Avishai Mekonen, then 10-years-old, was among them. In this film, he breaks his 20-year silence about the kidnapping he endured as a child in Sudan during his community’s exodus. This life-defining event launches an inquiry into identity, leading him to African, Asian and Latino Jews in Israel and the U.S.
The film is being screened as part of the New York Jewish Film Festival. Screenings will take place Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 3:45pm
and Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 6:00pm
Click here for tickets and additional information.
Avishai Mekonen at the Center for HumanitiesMonday, August 30th, 2010
BIO — Avishai MekonenMonday, May 10th, 2010
Yeganyahu Avishai Mekonen emigrated from Ethiopia to Israel in 1984 as part of Operation Moses, and has worked as a photographer and filmmaker on projects investigating issues of race and identity.
A section of his documentary film project, “Judaism and Race,” is part of “The Jewish Identity Project: New American Photography” that originated at the Jewish Museum, NYC, and has traveled to the Skirball Museum, L.A. and the Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.
His award-winning documentary work has been broadcast on Israel’s Channel 1 and has screened at many festivals in Israel, Europe, and the US, including the Tel Aviv Cinemateque, the Jerusalem Cinemateque, Haifa Jewish Film Festival, Makor, and the International Competition Documentary Festival, Czech Republic.
He has lectured on the subject of Ethiopian Jews in the U.S. and in Israel both independently and through the NY Israeli Consulate. He holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from Tel Chai College of Haifa University/Hebrew University.
PROJECT STATEMENT — Avishai MekonenMonday, May 10th, 2010
Seven Generations is a photography and video installation that offers a view into an ancient Ethiopian Jewish tradition that is grounded in the past but keeps an eye to the future.
This project creates a living commentary on the contemporary state of Ethiopian Jews’ assimilation juxtaposed against what is being lost with the passing of older generations. The ritual of counting seven generations of ancestry ensures generational continuity and that Ethiopian Jewish history will not be lost.
When two people want to get married, the elders of the community count each person’s family history back seven generations to check that they are not related. If there is any relation, they are not allowed to get married.
The stories of legendary Ethiopian Jews like the kessim (rabbis), as well as stories of all ancestors, were preserved in this way. Portraits and documentary-style photographs spanning the youngest to the eldest generations of Ethiopians Jews, alongside companion sound recordings of their counting, praying, and music create a visual and aural portrait of this powerful tradition.
Seven Generations was presented at the JCC in Manhattan from February to April 2009.
PRESS — Avishai MekonenMonday, May 10th, 2010
April 7, 2009
Feb 5, 2009
Feb 3, 2009
April 16, 2008