PAFF Announces  Theodros Teshome Kebede’s Ethiopian War Film “For the Love of the Motherland” as Centerpiece

For the Love of the Motherland

For the Love of the Motherland

For the Love of the Motherland

Ethiopian Community in Los Angeles Anticipates World Premiere of Groundbreaking Film on the Tigray War

LOS ANGELES, CA, USA, February 13, 2024 / — The Pan African Film and Arts Festival will feature the world premiere of “For the Love of the Motherland” as the Centerpiece selection for its 32nd film festival. Glittering with luminaries and foreign dignitaries, the screening will take place on February 15 at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. Tickets are on sale now at

As tensions remain high and the global spotlight intensifies on the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, “For the Love of the Motherland” is first-ever film dedicated to portraying the complexities and human experiences surrounding the Tigray War.

The screening is expected to draw attention not only from the Ethiopian diaspora but also from international audiences and media outlets seeking deeper insight into one of the most pressing humanitarian crises of our time.

For many Ethiopians residing in Los Angeles, the premiere of “For the Love of the Motherland” represents a significant moment of cultural recognition and storytelling. Theodore Teshome, whose previous works have garnered critical acclaim for their poignant portrayal of Ethiopian history and identity, has spent years meticulously researching and crafting this film to capture the multifaceted narratives of individuals directly impacted by the conflict.

“For the Love of the Motherland” will reflect how the Tigray War in Ethiopia has fueled divides members of the diaspora. A war that has killed an estimated 162,000-378,000 people, with other reported estimates reaching numbers as high as 600,000 killed.

The film tells the intimate story of Hayelom and Lielt who are deeply in love. He is from Tigray region in Ethiopia and she is from Ethiopia’s Amhara region. Their love faces an expected turn when Tigray militants invade the Amhara region to take over power of the central government. He joins the militants, she joins the Ethiopian Defense Force, and they become enemies looking to kill one another.

Directed and written by Theodros Teshome Kebede, the film stars Debebe Eshetu, Getahun Hailu, and Tsigereda Bekele.

“For the Love of the Motherland” holds the record with a net budget of as the most expensive film to come out of Africa, with an estimated 30,000 extras.

“We used real soldiers and real guns,” explained the film’s director Theodros Teshome Kebede. “I didn’t use any computer generated imagery. Due to the war, it took two years to complete this film and I had to go back and rewrite several scenes based on what was happening in real time during the war.”

To commemorate the occasion of the film’s world premiere, Ethiopian Ambassador to the US, H.E. Seleshi Bekele Awulachew, Ethiopian Military Attaché Major General Teshome, and Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism Dr. Hirut Kassaw will attend the screening along with local dignitaries and celebrities.

Theodros is known for initiating the revival of the Ethiopian film industry in the early 2000s, and for helping to create a boom in film-making in the country. Theodros produces, directs, writes and often acts in his own films, and he has produced films that deal with social issues such as HIV, immigration, and violence against women as well as films with nationalistic content.

Theodros produced and directed two of the highest grossing Ethiopian films of all time, “Abay vs. Vegas” and “Kezkaza Welafegn.”

He is the owner of Teddy Studios, one of the largest producers of films in Ethiopia, and Sebastopol Entertainment PLC (Sebastopol Cinema), which operates the biggest chain of private cinemas in Addis Ababa and other cities in Ethiopia, giving him significant control in both the production and distribution of films in the country.

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2024 Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF)

The 32nd Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) makes its return to Los Angeles February 6-19, 2024 at the Cinemark Baldwin Hills XD and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza to present and showcase a broad spectrum of Black creative works, particularly those that reinforce positive images and help to destroy negative stereotypes of Africans and African-Americans.

Since 1992, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, PAFF has remained dedicated to the promotion of Black stories and images through the exhibition of film, visual art, and other creative expression. Today, PAFF is one of the largest and most prestigious Black film festivals in the U.S. and attracts local, national, and international audiences. In addition, it is an Oscar-qualifying festival for animation and live-action films, and one of the largest Black History Month events in America.

PAFF is sponsored in part by the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, LA Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, LA Councilmember Curren Price, LA Councilmember Heather Hutt, LA County Department of Arts and Culture, the LA County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund administered by the LA County Department of Arts and Culture, Senator Steve Bradford, and Senator Lola Smallwood-Cuevas.

The 32nd PAFF is possible through the generous support of sponsors including Color Creative, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Stocker Street Creative, Disney, Andscape, BET+, Paramount+National Geographic, Black Alliance for Justice Immigration, Cal State University, Los Angeles.

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For the Love of the Motherland Trailer

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