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Angelina Jolie has joined Zeresenay Berhane Mehari‘s feature directorial debut, Difret, which will have its world premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition category at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday.
Centering around a young Ethiopian girl who challenges the tradition of “telefa,” the practice of abduction in marriage, usually of young girls, the film is “a strong moment for art in Ethiopia,” Jolie said.
The Oscar-winning actress will be taking an executive producer and presentation credit on Difret. “It is inspiring to see such an important story so beautifully illustrated with such creative talent,” she said. “It draws out the richness of Ethiopian culture and shows how important legal advances can be made while respecting local culture.
“It is a story that gives hope for Ethiopia’s future, and for other countries where countless girls grow up without the protection of laws that shield them and their bodies, and shows how the courage of brave individuals can awaken the conscience of a society,” she said in a statement received by The Hollywood Reporter.
Difret will premiere at Sundance on Saturday, Jan. 18 at 9 pm at the Egyptian Theatre, with more screenings throughout the week.
Ethiopia is a country close to Jolie’s heart, as it is where her daughter Zahara, 9, was adopted from in 2005. She and Brad Pitt have since returned to the African nation and donated $2 million to help fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis there.
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