Edelawit Hussien

Edelawit Hussien Freelance Founders

Edelawit HUSSIEN is an Ethiopian filmmaker and creative consultant whose work aims to explore dual identity and Black aesthetics to shift and challenge narratives of Africa and what it means to be African.

First question: Do you consider yourself a freelancer or a founder?


How did you decide you wanted to work as a Creative Consultant and Film Producer?

I don’t think I necessarily decided. I slowly fell into the creative industries while interning back when I was an NYU student.

Congratulations on being a finalist for the International Emerging Film Talent Association, can you tell us a little more about the organization and your involvement?

The IEFTA provided meaningful industry mentorship for my last project, Be Somebody, a film about three Addis Ababa-based teenage boys as they embark on a road trip. The project just premiered at the Addis Ababa Museum and will be beginning its festival circuit.

We see that you work on projects around youth culture, which is pretty amazing. Can you share more on what those projects are?

I help brands engage with Gen Z and Millennial audiences in key markets. This generation wants brands that are authentic and stand for similar values that they do so I help brands create campaigns and content that align with that.

What is the best part of being your own boss? The worst?

I would say the best part is being in control of my days. I avoid burnout by really being in control of my work/life balance. The worst part is wearing many hats at the same time. It can get overwhelming when you’re trying to meet client deadlines, do business development and keep track of finances. I think it will get better over time when I'm not running a business out of my bedroom. I appreciate the Freelance Founder community for hosting a platform to exchange experiences and advice.

You work with brands from all over the world, what's you process of finding new clients?

I try to read a lot in the morning. I read about new brands, partnerships, and listen to what my own group of friends are hyped about in the moment. I usually just cold email and see where conversations lead.

Do you have a work-day routine?

Quarantine has been very difficult but I try to discipline myself into a structure of sorts. I wake up pretty early around 5 am each morning. Take some calls, answers some emails, and make coffee. During the warmer months, I usually hit the stairs at Fort Greene park but now I just do a workout video online. I give myself a mid-morning break to make breakfast and slowly catch up on news or scroll through Instagram or TikTok a bit. A large chunk of the daytime is just putting my phone on silent, putting on a good mix on, and getting down to actual work. I try to give myself a definite end time to my days but I'm not really the best with that.

What advice do you have for creative people who want to pursue their passion as a career?

Have the audacity to take up space!

What's next for you?

I have added a few new clients that I am excited to be working with in the new year. In late February, I will be launch a film podcast called Merkato Radio. A huge goal is expanding my business to my second home, Ethiopia. I hope to split my time evenly between New York and Addis by the end of the year.

“Have the audacity to take up space!"

– E.H.