by Nebiu Samuel
As a young Ethiopian boy, born and raised in London I enjoyed the wealth of experiences and culture both Britain and Ethiopia has to offer. I often found the differences between the two quite jarring, not knowing whether I was Ethiopian enough for my family or British enough for my peers.
The most impactful of these moments came when at a similar age to our main character Million, my father passed away. I made my first trip to Ethiopia for his funeral where I experienced traditional Ethiopian forms of mourning which included loudly crying and wailing, shouting my father's name, and beating their foreheads and chests. I found these loud and visceral displays very uncomfortable as a child. In opposition to my family, I was quiet and reserved as I held back all the emotions I felt. But now I see how beautiful those displays were, making it clear to everyone who was near that my dad lived, was loved and that is why I want to make this film. A film which celebrates the lives of those we've lost and expresses the depth of emotions I felt but wasn't able to express as a child.
I’ve spent a lot of time reconnecting with my Ethiopian heritage, and that journey has led me to write this story to explore how a different culture experiences grief and to widen global audiences' awareness of Ethiopian culture. Ethiopia is very rarely seen in modern cinema or television unless in very tragic humanitarian circumstances. This is quite saddening for me personally as it's a country so full of beauty in its land, its people and the diverse ways they express themselves. This film only highlights a single story but I hope to capture a side of the country and its people that's rarely seen.