CrowdFund: YETUT LIJ: A film by Haile Gerima

Posted: Jun, 4th 2015 Contributor: Bilen Shifferaw,

To Support Campaign

Less than 30 days to support Ethiopian world renowned Film Director Haile Girma's new movie Yeyut Lij. From June 1st, Haile Gerima, the independent filmmaker, behind such critically-acclaimed and award-winning films as TEZA, SANKOFA, BUSH MAMA & HARVEST 3000 YEARS is launching his first crowd-sourced fundraising campaign on Indiegogo to finance the production of a new dramatic feature, YETUT LIJ.

YETUT LIJ /የጡት ልጅ/ is an Amharic phrase, that crudely translates to "Child of the Breast." It’s a term typically used to refer to any child taken in and raised by someone, other than their biological parent.

To Support Campaign

Gerima’s prospective feature will be his 12th film and 8th dramatic narrative. Like his past films, YETUT LIJ implicates the struggle of marginalized and oppressed people of color, in this case, women and girls, who are trafficked, exploited and enslaved all over the world.

Set primarily in Gerima’s childhood town of Gondar, the story takes place in the 1960’s, some 20 years after the Italo-Ethiopian War. Aynalem, a 13-year-old peasant girl, is adopted by a wealthy judge's family and taken away from her own. Promised an educated upbringing and a better life, she is instead, brutalized and forced to work as a domestic servant.

A graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, Gerima has spent over 40 years making independent films of “ substance and bold expression” (THE WASHINGTON POST). Having worked alongside other independent filmmakers, like Charles Burnett, Billy Woodberry and Larry Clark, Gerima has mastered the production of high-value, low-budget films, outside of commercial and mainstream institutions.

To Support Campaign

Although this is Gerima’s first campaign on crowdfunding platforms, the writer, director and producer insists that “Crowd-funding is not new to me.” Crediting the grassroots efforts that made BUSH MAMA (1979) and SANKOFA (1993) possible, Gerima emphasizes that “None of my past films would have been possible without the community who said, ‘I want to see this film happen.’” With this June’s campaign on Indiegogo, Gerima expects to reach a new, and younger audience hungry for films like his, while activating the loyal base of supporters that made his previous works possible

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