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Haile Gerima Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (4)

Overview (2)

Born in Gondor, Ethiopia
Birth NameMypheduh

Mini Bio (1)

Halie Gerima arrived in the United States from his native Gondar, Ethiopia, to study acting and directing at the Goodman Theater in Chicago, Illinois. He later transferred to the Theater Department at UCLA where he completed the Master's Program in Film. Afterward, he relocated to Washington, DC, to teach at Howard University's Department of Radio, Television, and Film where he has influenced young filmmakers for over twenty-five years.

Influenced by UCLA classmate and filmmaker Charles Burnett, and by the celebrated Black poet and educator Sterling Brown, Gerima's films are noted for their exploration of the issues and history pertinent to members of the African diaspora, from the continent itself to the Americas and Western Hemisphere. Often corrective of Hollywood versions of slave stories, his films comment on the physical, cultural, and psychological dislocation of Black peoples during and after slavery. What distinguishes his films are that the narratives are told from the perspectives of Africans and members of the African Diaspora itself, rather than being sanitized and misinterpreted by more commercially oriented filmmakers.

Gerima's unique filmmaking aesthetic is coupled with a personal mission to correct long-held misconceptions about Black peoples' varied histories throughout the world; for this reason, he is considered--by colleagues and students alike--to be a master teacher in the classroom and behind the camera.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: L. J. Allen-2

Spouse (1)

Shirikiana Aina (? - present) ( 5 children)

Trivia (4)

Although called Haile, his formal given name is Mypheduh, which was given to him by his father; the name Mypheduh in the Ge'ez language means "sacred shield of culture."
Gerima's native tongue is Ge'ez, one of the more than 70 languages found in Ethiopia.
When no major film distribution company would distribute his film Sankofa (1993), he literally took his film to thirty-five different cities--one at a time--and ended up grossing nearly US$3 million; his company Mypheduh Films was created to distribute his films on all media and the films of other Black filmmakers who have difficulty finding distributors.
His father was a director of a theater group, of which young Haile was a member, in Ethiopia; and his mother was a schoolteacher.

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