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Mystery of the Nile Premieres in Ethiopia


Written by: MacGillivray Freeman Films
Date: January 25, 2006

MYSTERY OF THE NILE was released on January 7 at the historic Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa.


Category: Press Releases

Mystery of the Nile Premieres in Ethiopia at Historic National Theatre

The producers of MYSTERY OF THE NILE offer the film to Ethiopians on Christmas Day

January 25, 2007 – MYSTERY OF THE NILE, the highest-grossing giant screen film of 2005, was released on January 7 at the historic Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The opening event, held on Ehtiopia's Christmas Day, was attended by more than 600 guests, including the most important authorities of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopía, representatives of more than a dozen embassies, academic authorities and businessmen.

A special 35mm version of the film dubbed in Amharic was produced for the exhibition.

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world with a population of approximately 75 million, half of whom are below the poverty line and who survive thanks to humanitarian aid from Western countries. Most of the population has never seen a movie, and in 25 years Ethiopians have co-produced only one film.

The Ethiopian Minister of Culture and Tourism, his excellency Mr. Mohammud Dirir, thanked the producers of Mystery of the Nile, Jordi Llompart and Greg MacGillivray, as well as the film's expedition and production teams. He was especially grateful that a large format documentary filmed in Ethiopia could be "enjoyed not only in Spain, Europe and the USA, but also in our own country, which is the first time that has happened, and on such a special date in the Ethiopian calendar as Christmas Day."

The presentation of the film took place in the Ethiopian National Theatre at the centrally situated Churchill Avenue in Addis Ababa. One of the largest and oldest screens in Africa, the National Theatre was specially renovated for the opening of Mystery of the Nile.

The National Theatre was opened in 1955 by Emperor Haile Selassie whose dream was to turn Addis Ababa into a leading political and cultural capital of the African continent. But the country's history, marked by upheaval and unrest with the decline and deposition of Haile Selassie followed by the communist military dictatorship of Mengistu Haile Mariam, several wars, social conflicts and starvation, forced the Ethiopian National Theatre to wither until its recent renovation.

The exhibition of Mystery of the Nile was made possible by donations from various members of the Giant Screen Cinema Association. Veteran giant screen film exhibitor Dr. Dieter Buchwald renovated the theatre's film projectors, replaced the old and degraded screen which measures 250 square meters, and upgraded the old 150-watt mono sound system with a new state-of-the-art 4800-watt stereo system. The film's producers, Orbita Max and MacGillivray Freeman Films, coordinated the post-production and distribution services. DKP 70MM/IMAX contributed a variety of post-production services, NT Audio supplied the soundtrack, and CFI/Technicolor provided extensive film goods and services, including the exhibition print.

Mystery of the Nile documents the historic expedition that marked the first complete descent of the 3,260-mile Blue Nile River from its source in Ethiopia to the Mediterranean Sea, a journey that took the team of explorers through three countries: Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.

At the film's premiere, producer and director Jordi Llompart said "Mystery of the Nile has been seen by more than 5.6 million people in giant screen theatres in almost 30 countries around the world and has received international prizes for best achievement in film, best photography, best original score, and more, but my biggest dream was to some day open the film in Ethiopia as the best sign of gratitude to its people." Pasquale Scaturro, the protagonist of the film and the first person ever to make a complete descent of the Blue Nile, added, "The film not only shows to the world the adventure of the expedition but also the mystery and beauty of a country like Ethiopia, where different cultures and religions live together in harmony."

Mystery of the Nile will be projected in Addis Ababa for several months with free showings organized for schools and universities. The aim is to give Ethiopians the chance to not only enjoy the expedition but also discover facts about the geography, the history and the culture of their own country, which is historically tied to the waters of the Blue Nile, the tributary that contributes almost 90% of the Nile River's water due to the torrential rains of the Ethiopian high plateau.

About MacGillivray Freeman Films
MacGillivray Freeman Films is the largest, most experienced independent producer and distributor of giant screen 70mm films in the world. Throughout the company's 40-plus-year history, its films have won numerous international awards including two Academy Award® nominations for Best Documentary Short Subject for Dolphins and The Living Sea. In 1998, the company's hit film Everest achieved unprecedented acclaim and box office success for a large format film and is currently the highest grossing giant screen film of all time. MacGillivray Freeman's films are known for their artistry and successful blend of education and entertainment, as well as their celebration of science and the natural world.

About Orbita Max
Orbita Max is an audiovisual production company specializing in documentary filmmaking and based in Barcelona. The company is directed by award-winning Spanish journalist and filmmaker Jordi Llompart who has produced and directed such high-quality series as The Vanishing Past about the preservation of the world's cultural heritage. Orbita Max has created and produced many other acclaimed documentaries such as Nomads of the Human Condition, a series that explores the human aspect of globalization, Asha, Daughter of the Ganges based on a Spanish bestseller, Water Lives about the world's water crisis and The Nomad Experience. Orbita Max also produces giant screen documentaries in the IMAX theatre format and is playing a pioneering role in Spain by producing Mystery of the Nile, the first giant screen Spanish production in history.

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