Directed by Kinfe Banbu, 2014 | Ethiopia | Drama | 105 min | Amharic w/ English subtitles
Bilatena tells us the story of Abi, a young boy who is representative of million of children in Africa who do not attend school and work to sustain their families. Childhood Destroyed from Chad tells a similar story from a girl's perspective. Bilatena also introduces us to the problems of the Ethiopian health system.
Abi, a dynamic and resourceful twelve year old boy, lives with his mother Degua and his 26 year old university graduate unemployed brother Zelalem (Zele). Abi, who is a a hyper-industrious hard working 12-year-old boy with two jobs, supports his poor mother and his older unemployed brother through their day to day lives.
But when their mother dies of Hepatitis B and Abi is also infected with the virus, Zele must face the big challenge of supporting his own life and keeping his younger brother alive by earning the 20,000 Ethiopian birr per month needed for his brother's medication.
"A fairy tale with a real-life grit" ~ Celia Wren, The Washington Post
"Answering questions via e-mail from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Bilatenaproducer Melkam Yideg said the story drew on Banbu’s experience growing up in a neighborhood of the Ethiopian capital where children often skip school to earn money for their families. While drawing attention to this phenomenon, and to the importance of industriousness in general, the movie also aims to raise awareness about hepatitis, Yideg says. “From the feedback we [have received] from our audience, we can proudly say that we have met our goal,” she says." ~ Celia Wren, The Washington Post