Dechase Originals is a series where we shine a light on friends of the brand and talents across the globe. For this edition, we had the pleasure of having a chat with Anteneh Nida about his love for capturing moments, how his hometown Addis Abeba inspires him and why emotions play a big role in his work.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your craft?
My name is Anteneh. People know me by Anteneh Nida. Nida is my grandfather's name. My father’s name is Zerga. So, my name actually is Anteneh Zerga*.I am a filmmaker. I do street videography and cinematography. I also direct and edit. Basically, I do all the things in filmmaking and have been doing this for almost two years.
What was the moment that got you into filmmaking?
I don’t know the exact moment, but I love capturing moments. It’s those certain moments that sparked my interest in filmmaking and I was like “Okay, I’m going to do this for a lifetime”.
What would you define as meaningful moments that you have to capture it?
I think there are meaningful moments in every situation; when you’re chilling with friends, family gatherings, walking down the street. It’s everywhere! You just have to pay attention to see it. My favorite moments to capture are when people are at their most vulnerable and the most liberated, when they’re doing something they really like. But other than that; I feel like every moment deserves to be captured.
How did Addis influence your work?
I’ve lived in Addis Abeba my whole life. I was born and raised in an area called Akaki Kaliti. The city influences me in almost every aspect – the people, the streets, the scenery. I find beauty in everything.
Did you already have a love for film growing up?
I actually wanted to be a basketball player! That was the dream I had, back in high school until I got into college. I think my childhood in general had a big impact on my personal life. But not necessarily for my choice of having filmmaking as my profession.
What does your creative process look like?
In the case of commissioned work, I do it based on a creative concept and the needs of the client. But most of my personal work is created unplanned. I just do it right in the moment! Like I said, it’s all about capturing moments and you cannot plan those interesting moments. If something catches my eye, I use whatever I have at hand. Phone or camera, it doesn’t matter as long as I capture that moment.
What keeps you motivated?
A lot of things; love, struggle. As an artist, how you feel inside motivates you to create.
As a young creative in Addis, what are the biggest challenges you face?
I would say doing street photography or videography. There are many limitations when shooting on the street, from bystanders to authorities. So, I’ve started appreciating the nighttime because I can kind of hide. That’s one way I'm avoiding this challenge. I wouldn’t say it has been the biggest struggle of mine, but more of a challenge for young creatives in general. Finding projects as a freelancer is also difficult. The concept of working as a creative freelancer is relatively new here and the business structures are not entirely there yet.
In regard to filming on the street, is it that the people don't want to be filmed or that filming is not allowed?
A bit of both. But as a filmmaker, the people are kind of the problem for me. I want any film or video to be portrayed as if it was captured by my eyes. The camera should not be noticed by the people in the film. However, in the case of street videography in Addis Abeba or Ethiopia in general, people tend to stare when they see someone film with a camera. This takes away from the experience, as the audience will notice the presence of the camera in the setting.
How did you develop yourself in the past two years?
Two years seem kind of long, but I wouldn’t say I’ve grown as much as I was expecting from myself. I have this mentality that I want to continuously develop. So, in the case of videography, maybe I’m getting better and better. But it’s hard to be completely satisfied as there is always room to grow. That’s the mentality that I have. I’m grateful for my progress from the past two years. It has been a lot, with ups and downs. I enjoy it but I want to keep learning and growing.
How do you share your work and who do you want to speak to?
I don’t mind whoever enjoys my videos. I don’t mind if they hate it, or they love it. I share my work for the sake of love. Not for any recognition or approval. I just share how I feel, and I want the audience to feel those emotions through my videos.
What is the impact you want when people see your work?
Empathy and gratefulness. I want them to feel. Most people think that my videos are just sad, based on the songs that I choose. But my intention is for them to feel something, may this be sadness or something else. With the goal to make them feel human and more connected to others. It’s the emotion that connects us with humanity. Through my work I also want the audience to be aware and more appreciative of every moment in their life.
Does Addis or Ethiopia have enough opportunities for the new generation of creatives?
Besides the challenges, yes. A lot of them! Just go out and film. I used to be like; I’m going to wait until I get this camera to start filming or I’m going to wait for the right moment. But if you don’t do it, you are just going to miss it. It’s always there, you just have to push it. You don’t even have to get the recognition. You can even just get recognition from your friends. Start doing it for yourself and then for other people.
What are your plans for the future?
To have a big impact on the film industry. On the positive side there are currently a lot of people trying to make film and it keeps getting better. But on the negative side, there are a lot of videographers and filmmakers that are just stuck in their comfort zone. They don’t want to do more or less, and just continue making the same kind of movies. I want to change that mentality and make a big impact!
What are you most proud of?
If you could snap your fingers and your wildest dream comes true. What would it be?
To be honest, I don’t think I would do it. Like I want to experience the progress, I want the fucking pain. What’s the point if I can just snap my fingers and it’s there. It means nothing without the process.
What advice would you give the younger Anteneh?
Stop comparing yourself to people. Do you. You are unique. One of the things that I struggled with when I started was: I make the video, or I shoot the photo and then see the professional ones. Compared to them, yours are down here. I used to feel like I was not doing any good. Then I started to think, to feel like – I saw my progress and then I realized that the video I made yesterday would be embarrassing to me a month from now. Because I keep getting better. So, I would say stop comparing yourself to anybody.
What does the future of Africa look like to you?
One. Just one. One big continent.
What does the future of Africa look like to you?
It’s all love.Anteneh Nida is wearing the Konso Boots. Photography by Karlton “Kopeto” Seydi*In Ethiopia, the last name of a person is the name of one’s (grand)father and to a lesser extent the name of the mother. In official documentation, the names of both father and grandfather are generally used, e.g. Anteneh Zerga Nida.
Anteneh Nida is wearing the Konso Black. Photography by Karlton “Kopeto” Seydi.