New book reveals positive image of Ethiopia through the eyes of a community …

PRESS RELEASE: Lights, Camera, Jemuru – Adventures Of A Film-maker In Ethiopia tells the remarkable story of Bob Maddams, who swapped a high-flying advertising career in London to go and teach a group of young people, who included kids who had been living on the street, in a back-street community film school in Addis Ababa called Gem TV.

Bob was a successful director of TV commercials in London. Then a chance encounter at the Media Trust, an organization that puts communications professionals in touch with charities, saw him give up his city-slicker lifestyle and move to Ethiopia. “I initially went for a few months to help with a campaign of TV commercials to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS,” he says, “but ended up staying ten years.”

Making films with Gem TV for the UN, Unicef, Oxfam, Water Aid and other NGOs took him from the shantytowns of Addis Ababa to isolated communities living on the Sudan border. He came face to face with famine and HIV/AIDS, and shares inspiring stories of courage. While in the Rastafarian town of Sashamene he recalls making a pop video for a reggae band from Manchester. He also chronicles his journeys to the source of the Blue Nile, the island monasteries of Lake Tana and the rock hewn churches of Lalibela, the unofficial eighth wonder of the world.

“Every encounter stripped away another layer of the Live Aid image of Ethiopia I had arrived with,” he says. “Yes, there was poverty, but Ethiopia couldn’t have been more different. It’s a land of staggering natural beauty, diverse ethnic peoples, Biblical history and an ancient culture that’s as rich as the people are poor. ” He also unearths the real story behind the Live Aid famine that cost a million people their lives.

But most of all Lights, Camera, Jemuru is the heartwarming story of the Gem TV filmmakers whose films continue to transform peoples’ lives all over Ethiopia. “Their story,” adds Bob, “is a shining example of what young people can achieve throughout the developing world if given the chance.”

Sometimes sad, often funny and always moving, Lights, Camera, Jemuru is also a vibrant portrait of Africa’s most misrepresented country. And for the four hundred million people all over the world who watched Live Aid and wondered wh


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