Festival Screenings
400 Miles To Freedom

About the Filmmakers

Avishai MekonenAvishai Yeganyahu Mekonen is a filmmaker and photographer whose work includes the award-winning documentary VIDEO FLOUR, screened widely at international film festivals and broadcast primetime on Israel's premiere network.  He has directed and written (GENERATIONS OF A FAMILY, ANCHOR and HOTHOUSE, broadcast on Israel 's Channels 1 & 2), produced (internationally acclaimed documentary MENELIK), assistant directed (CARAVAN 841), acted (lead role, LAYLA B'ADDIS), and crewed numerous Israeli and American dramatic, documentary and news programs.

Current work includes 400 MILES TO FREEDOM and SEVEN GENERATIONS, a photography/video project focusing on an Ethiopian oral history custom while examining the relationships between the elder and younger generations of Ethiopian Jews in Israel.  Solo exhibitions of SEVEN GENERATIONS were presented in fall 2010 at Temple University 's Art Gallery , Philadelphia, and in 2009 at the Laurie Tisch Gallery, Manhattan JCC, and the Art Gallery, Adam Clayton Jr. State Building, Harlem.

For this project he was a recipient of the Six Points Fellowship, a partnership of JDub Records, Avoda Arts, and the Foundation for Jewish Culture, made possible with major funding from UJA-Federation of New York.  Avishai has presented his work and lectured on the subject of Ethiopian Jews in the U.S. and in Israel, both independently and through the NY Israeli Consulate.  He holds a B.A. in Fine Arts/Film from Tel Chai College , Haifa University/Hebrew University.

Shari Rothfarb MekonenShari Rothfarb Mekonen's short films FUR and OCEAN AVENUE were  featured in over fifty international film festivals including the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, AFI Los Angeles International Film Festival, Women in the Director's Chair, Alcala Shorts Film Festival, Spain, Athens International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Shorts Film Festival, and many Jewish film festivals.  They received the "Filmmaker Magazine Audience Award," "Best Director" Reel Award and "Best Film" award, Columbia Film Festival, Director's Guild of America.  She has edited shorts and long-format documentaries, and was featured as one of the "Heeb Hundred" in that magazine's Spring 2005 issue. 

Her solo exhibition at NYC's Jewish Museum, WATER RITES (consisting of OCEAN AVENUE and her experimental video installation, WATER RITES), received positive national reviews and was featured in the AQUARIA exhibition in Austria, Germany, and Italy.  Additional exhibition venues for her work include the Whitney Museum of American Art, Yeshiva University Museum , and U.S. galleries. 

She attended the Whitney Independent Study Program and holds a B.F.A. in Fine Art from Cooper Union and an M.F.A. with honors in Film from Columbia University .  She has taught at Rutgers University and is Associate Professor at CUNY/BMCC, where she is deputy chair of the Media, Arts and Technology Department and Director of its National Science Foundation grant, CREATING CAREER PATHWAYS FOR WOMEN AND MINORITIES IN DIGITAL VIDEO TECHNOLOGY.

© 2008 - 2012 Avishai Yeganyahu Mekonen and Shari Rothfarb Mekonen