Africa Direct

The Bookmaker: An ancient craft in Ethiopia

An Ethiopian archbishop keeps the ancient craft of parchment bookmaking alive, but he needs a supply of goat skins.

The Bookmaker by filmmaker Girum Berehanetsehay unfolds in the mists of the high Ankober Mountains of Ethiopia.

Here, Archbishop Kalehiwot Habtewold still practices the ancient craft of parchment bookmaking.

To be able to do that, he sets his young disciples an unusual task: to find enough high-quality goat skins for the parchment needed to hand-craft these religious books.

The exquisitely illustrated religious books take years, even decades, to produce.

This film immerses us in a remote and traditional world of patience and prayer, ceremony and craft, fathers and sons.

Producer/director Girum Berehanetsehay is an Ethiopian filmmaker based in Addis Ababa. With more than a decade of local and international production experience, he has worked on more than 20 feature films, as well as commercials and music videos, in various roles.