The focus of this Black Camera Close-Up is Haile Gerima’s eleventh and most recent film production,Teza (2008). Remarkably, he has said that when he made Hour Glass (1972) and Child of Resistance(1972) as a young MFA student at UCLA, he didn’t know whether or not he was a filmmaker. When he made Bush Mama (1976) and Harvest: 3000 Years(1976), his cinematic reputation began to grow by leaps and bounds, nationally as well as internationally. Still, nothing would amplify his popularity more than Sankofa (1993), literally a cultural phenomenon which by now should need no introduction whatsoever. Born in Gondar, Ethiopia, and Pan-Africanist to the core, Gerima is a creative and accomplished documentarian as well, even if Wilmington 10—USA 10,000 (1978), After Winter: Sterling Brown (1985), Imperfect Journey (1994), and Adwa: An African Victory(1999) receive less critical attention, not unlike his oft-neglected feature film, Ashes and Embers (1982). The widely acclaimed Teza is a fictional dramatic production set between Africa and Europe, Ethiopia and Germany, Berlin and Leipzig as well as Addis Ababa and the rural villages of the dewy East African countryside.
Read the introduction to this issue's "Close-Up" to learn more.
READ FOR FREE: Introduction: Toward a Close-Up on Teza, Greg Thomas