Mehret Mandefro

Mehret is an award-winning producer, writer, director whose credits include the Sundance and Berlinale Audience Award winner Difret, the New York Times Critic’s Pick Little White Lie, the viral digital series The Loving Generation, and showrunner of Ethiopia’s first-ever teen drama series Yegna. She recently executive produced the American Masters feature documentary film How It Feels To Be Free which explores the lives and trailblazing careers of six iconic African American entertainers – Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson, Lena Horne, Pam Grier, and Abbey Lincoln- who changed American culture through their films, fashion, music and politics. Her films and television shows have set ratings records and been successfully released in theaters and SVOD platforms around the world.

Mehret co-founded the independent media production company Truth Aid Media in the US, its sister company A51 Pictures in Ethiopia, and was most recently the Executive Producer of Ethiopia’s largest general entertainment channel Kana Television. Her track record scaling businesses from launch has made her a global leader in the screen sector and secured her a spot on Variety’s 2021 list of most impactful women in global entertainment. She lives and works in Ethiopia and is a champion of the creative arts as a path to developing a more just society. As a member of the Jobs Creation Commission of Ethiopia’s Advisory Council, Mehret has successfully advocated for and shaped policies that will enable the creative sector to thrive and serve as an engine for economic growth.

She is a sought after speaker on this topic and recently gave a TED talk on the job-creating, democracy saving power of the creative industries that went viral. She is also a founding member of Ethiopia Creates, a multidisciplinary effort dedicated to strengthening Ethiopia’s creative economy and co-founder of Realness Institute, which aims to strengthen the screen sector across Africa by providing professional training programs that span screenwriting, creative producing, distribution, sales, and development executive tracks. She has served as a mentor for creative industry labs across Africa, including the U.S. Department of State’s first African creative producers lab. Her body ofwork on the social impact of media has been funded by the Ford Foundation, Packard Foundation and the Fledgling Fund.

Mehret has an AB in Anthropology from Harvard University, an MD from Harvard Medical School, a Masters in Global Public Health from the London School of Hygiene a Tropical Medicine as a Fulbright Scholar, and a PhD in Anthropology from Temple University. She is an alumnus of Sundance Institute’s New Voices Lab, American Film Showcase, and Film Forward.

To learn more about Mehret visit: www.drmehret.co