Dr. Mehret Mandefro is an award-winning film/television producer, writer, and founder of the multimedia production company A51 Films based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and co-founder of the multimedia production company Truth Aid based in New York. Dr. Mehret draws on her interdisciplinary training as a physician and anthropologist as the foundation to approach social issues she has chosen to tackle as an artist and filmmaker. She produced the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winning feature film Difret and the New York Times’ Critic’s Pick feature documentary Little White Lie. She also recently executive produced the feature film Sweetness in the Belly, starring Dakota Fanning and Yahya Abdul-Mateen which had its World Premiere at the 2019 Toronto Film Festival.
She is currently Executive Producer and Director of Social Impact for Kana Television, Ethiopian’s largest entertainment channel, where she writes/produces Yegna, Ethiopia’s first televised teen drama which is focused on youth empowerment and behavior change. Dr. Mehret is a sought-after speaker and champion for the development of the creative industries in sub-Saharan African and co-facilitated the U.S. Department of States’ first creative producers’ lab for African filmmakers in Cape Town, South Africa. She recently served as the lead advisor on the creative industries for the Jobs Commission of Ethiopia where she drafted a set of policy recommendations to jumpstart the sector. She also leads the initiative Ethiopia Creates a country-wide initiative that is training the next generation of creatives in Ethiopia and bolstering the development of the creative sector as an engine for job growth. Mehret has a BA in Anthropology from Harvard University, an MD from Harvard Medical School, a MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as a Fulbright Scholar, and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Temple University. She is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ethiopian Diaspora Trust Fund.