The VOA Amharic program's Alula Kebede has a conversation with Sirak M. Sebhat, lead actor, "Live and Become", an award winning independent movie based on the Ethiopian Jewish journey to Israel and life after their arrival at the "Promised Land."
"My life changed drastically in 1991 at the age of eleven," says Sirak "when I arrived in Israel with high hopes and a strong feeling of relief." But he faced hardships ahead. "It was a new country with a different culture; and the process of adaptation was not an easy one. Not everybody welcomed us: We were among the first black Jews in Israel."
After graduating from high school in 1999, Sirak joined Haifa University to study cinema. He later became the head of the Ethiopian Students Association to encourage integration and the aspiration for Higher Education among the Ethiopian students in Haifa and all Israel. After graduation he has got the opportunity to appear in a "reality" TV show and was named best actor on that program. He also became host of a children’s show on the Israeli First Channel. This acting experience led to his role as the lead actor in the French-Israeli co-production “Va, Vis et Deviens – Live and Become,” for which he was nominated for an Israeli Academy Award in 2005.
Sirak currently lives in New York City. "Live and Become" recently opened at the "Avalon Theater" in Washington,DC where it is attracted tens of thousands of movie goers in the past few weeks (click the link above to hear Alula's interview with Sirak in Amharic).