Haile Gerima, the influential Ethiopian-born director best known for films like “Sankofa” and “Teza,” has “Selma” director Ava DuVernay to thank for getting an important extension on his latest crowdfunding campaign.
Gerima’s Indiegogo campaign for “Yetut Lij” (an Amharic phrase that translates roughly to “Child of the Breast”) was set to end at the beginning of July, well below its funding goal of $500,000 (it currently sits at about $55,000). On June 29, DuVernay took to Twitter and published a 19-tweet indictment of the state of support for black filmmakers (particularly those as well-respected as Gerima, who was an important member of the L.A. Rebellion), non-concern from those who claim to support black film, and the dichotomous nature of what’s newsworthy and isn’t—all using the hashtag #HaileGerima. Here are a few choice tweets from that stream of 19:
With over 100 mentions, no one can name a black filmmaker consistently supported in making films into their elder years. Nuts. #HaileGerima— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) June 29, 2015
He taught a generation of filmmakers as a professor at Howard University. Craft, yes. But more importantly to find their voice. #HaileGerima— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) June 29, 2015
AVAETC) June 29, 2015
When a Barbie is made, all the outlets cover. When an icon of cinema can’t reach 50% on his IndieGoGo campaign, silence. #HaileGerima— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) June 29, 2015
The tweets and ensuing popularity convinced Indiegogo to extend Gerima’s fundraising deadline by three weeks; it will now conclude on July 23.
Other important film stars supporting Gerima’s campaign include Danny Glover, dream hampton, Victoria Mahoney and Bradford Young.
Click here to see the Indiegogo campaign and learn more about the film.