Haile Gerima born Gondar, Ethiopia, March 4, 1946



I think it’s interesting how people of different nations face more challenging environments than we do here in America and still have the will to find the way to stay focused on their dreams. Perhaps a great director could be defined by his lifestyle, political beliefs or religion, but the pursuit of a dream is what no one can deny. Talent is something that cannot be taught, but can be found within oneself.

Haile Gerima was faced with many challenges and adversity and still found his way in American Cinema through persistence and dedication. I found this interesting article on Haile Gerima by —Pamala S. Deane “I’m a Third World, independent filmmaker,” declared Haile Gerima in a 1983 interview. He now resides in the United States “for many historical reasons.” Gerima—professor of film, philosopher, writer, producer, and director of a singular stature—has earned a unique place in film history as one of a handful of African filmmakers to earn international notoriety. Gerima arrived in the United States as a youngster of twenty-one with an interest in theatre and enrolled in acting classes at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago, Illinois. “When I was growing up,” he reveals in the Los Angeles Times, “I wanted to work in theatre—it never occurred to me I could be a filmmaker because I was raised on Hollywood movies that pacified me to be subservient. Filmmaking isn’t encouraged or supported by the Ethiopian government.” He felt limited by theatre and was resigned, notes Francoise Pfaff, to “subservient roles in Western plays.” By 1970 he had discovered “the power of cinema.”

He migrated to California to attend the University of California, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master of Fine Arts degrees in film. Influenced in part by the pioneering work of film luminaries Vittorio de Sica, Fernando Solanas, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, and Med Hondo, Gerima makes films that tell of the human condition. He exploits the medium as a political weapon and as a catalyst for understanding and social change at the same time, consciously eschewing what he describes as the “narrative dictatorship” of Hollywood pictures. Filmography • 1971 – Hour Glass • 1972 – Child of Resistance • 1975 – Mirt Sost Shi Amit (also known as Harvest: 3,000 Years) • 1979 – Wilmington 10 — U.S.A. 10,000 • 1979 – Bush Mama • 1982 – Ashes and Embers • 1985 – After Winter: Sterling Brown • 1993 – Sankofa • 1999 – Adwa • 2008 — Teza

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