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  • Issayas Tesfamariam

A conversation with film-maker, Sam Gebremiche

Issayas: Would you tell us about yourself?

My name is Sam Gebremiche and I grew up in Eritrea, Africa. When I was 11 year old, I moved to the United States for better life and opportunity. At the age of 17, I started to fall in love with film-making. I am currently 22 years old and I am studying cinema at San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California.

Issayas: Why did you fall in love with film making?

Sam: I fell in love with film-making because I was able to express myself without talking, and I like inspiring other people through my work. I get very inspired when I watch a film and that’s exactly what I try to do whenever I create a video.

Issayas: What is the importance of film?

Sam: Film is important because now-a-days everything is turning into digital media. Film is able to be understood by anybody in this world. People are able to understand a film no matter what language a person speaks.

Issayas: Besides the length, expense, and time what is the difference between short film and feature film (aesthetics and story-wise)?

Sam: The difference between short film and feature film is that a short film is more doable for an independent filmmaker like me, and I don't need a production or a big budget to do it. As far as a feature is concerned, as an individual, it is hard to do because it’s a complicated process and it requires a large capital, resources and time.

Issayas: Do you watch Eritrean films? If you do, what do you think of them?

Sam: When I go back home to visit my mother, sometimes, I watch Eritrean films, while drinking coffee.

Issayas: I saw a clip you did, I think in Segeneiti, whereby you ask three kids about their opinion after you give them candies from the US? How did you think about it? What were you trying to convey?

Sam: I took American candies back home to Eritrea and I decided to have the local kids try the candies and just wanted to see what they think of the candies. I was trying to have the kids experience new candies and enjoy them. In doing so, I was able to see that most of the kids didn’t like the candies because they are not exposed to different type of candies and that they were just used to the simple candies that are found in Eritrea.

Issayas: You just had your short film, Beles, premiered. How was it received?

Sam: I just premiered my first ever short film and I was kind of nervous to show to the public, but everybody loved it and they were able to see the other side of the world and the lifestyles of the Eritrean kids. My goal with the film was to inspire and show people that there is always beauty on the other side of the world through struggles.

Issayas: Are there other Eritrean film students at SF State?

Sam: I haven't met anybody who is Eritrean that goes to SF State that is studying film.

Issayas: Sam, thank you!

Check Sam's youtube channel at:

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