The Ethio-Armenian community has always been small but their impact is great, from modern Ethiopian music to Ethiopian culture.
TEZETA IS A SONG FORM FAMOUS IN ETHIO-JAZZ.
IN AMHARIC IT TRANSLATES TO “MY MEMORY,”
BUT IT MEANS MUCH MORE. IT CONVEYS A SENSE
OF NOSTALGIA THAT CAN BE LOST IN
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
This documentary explores the collective
reminiscence of Ethiopian Armenians from their
own perspectives, as well as others touched
by their profound legacy.
From the times of Emperor Haile Selassie I and the Arba Lijoch (40 adopted Armenian orphans who comprised his imperial orchestra) to the legendary Ethio-jazz singer Alèmayèhu Eshèté, Armenians have long been intertwined with the musical and cultural history of Ethiopia. Kevork Nalbandian—composer of the first Ethiopian national anthem, his nephew Nerses—jazz musician and instructor, and his children, Vartkes and Salpi—both musicians and business owners, have all left their mark on the musical landscape of Ethiopia.
Presently, Vahé Tilbian, a fourth-generation Ethio-Armenian music performer, struggles with questions of ethnic identity and the viability of leading a life in an increasingly adverse cultural and economic climate. Their small community has dwindled and continues to shrink. Law enforcement, land developers, and collective amnesia are threatening the memory of Ethio-Armenians’ contributions to Ethiopian culture and, subsequently, the existence of Armenians in Ethiopia.
WHY I WANT TO MAKE THIS DOCUMENTARY?
As an Armenian-American, I know the qualities of living as a diasporan in exile of an unreachable homeland. Due to persecution, Armenians have dispersed over the centuries to many regions, including some lesser-known nations such as India, Jordan, Sudan and Ethiopia. This has created an unparalleled diversity amongst Armenians worldwide. Now, the cohesive Armenian community in Addis Ababa is struggling to preserve their contribution to Ethiopian culture.
I am documenting the Armenian legacy in Ethiopia, namely the large role the community played in the development of Ethiopian modern music and craftsmanship throughout the last century. The documentary will include interviews of Ethio-Armenians around the world, as well as in Addis Ababa. I have also gained access to some legendary Ethio-Jazz musicians, including elders such as singer Alèmayèhu Eshèté (lovingly called the Elvis Presley of Ethiopia) as well as some of the new generation of jazz artists who have benefitted from the musical foundation laid by Nerses Nalbandian, like Samuel Yirga. With the steady diminishing population of Armenians in different countries, including Armenia, I truly believe that the documentation of the Armenian legacy in Ethiopia is timely and relevant.
WHAT YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL FUND
To meet our initial minimum amount for filming we have set our goal to $10,000. In order to make the best film possible we need to start by raising at least $30,000 for production costs. This includes:
- Crew Hire, Equipment and Media Storage
- Research and Editing
- Sound Mastering
- Composer for an Original Score
- Closed Captioning
- Travel + Lodging to Conduct Interviews
- Website & Digital Download
- Footage and Music Copyrights
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DON'T REACH YOUR GOAL?
Nothing happens—no money is transferred and no money is raised. We either make it or we don't.
WHAT MAKES YOU THINK YOU CAN DO THIS?
You do. Your donation can help to document an Armenian community that has added so much to the flavor of Ethiopian arts and culture.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
We have a range of offerings for every level of sponsorship, from hugs and postcards to signed limited edition prints and a private meal with the director and associate producer.
I AM A WORKING AS A GARDENER BUT HAVE LITTLE GREEN . HOW CAN I HELP?
Even if you have little, sharing this documentary with friends and family who have a passion for music and culture is a gift in and of itself.
Below are examples of some rewards for your generous contributions.
All payments made through Kickstarter are processed by a secure Amazon payment. Your pledge is processed in the same way as online purchases from Amazon.
pledged of $10,000 goal
seconds to go
Jul 18, 2012 - Aug 9, 2012
Pledge $1 or more
You are awesome and, to me, you truly are a working-class hero! It is a shear joy to know that you spent time reading about my project! Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart! Please don't take my exuberance for sarcasm as I am being really sincere.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $10 or more
For contributing, you will receive a big hug when I see you next, provided that you would appreciate a hug at that time. You will also receive a signed original postcard to wherever you are in the world.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014
Pledge $20 or more
You will receive a copy of the finished TEZETA DVD. This amount will help to fund transportation for a few days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014
Pledge $50 or more
For your kind donation, you will receive an original TEZETA T-shirt. This amount can provide for hiring sound crew for one day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. *Please add $15 for international delivery.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014
Pledge $100 or more
For your phenomenal donation, you will receive a signed copy of a DVD plus one original TEZETA T-Shirt. This amount can provide equipment rental for one day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. *Please add $15 for international delivery.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014
Pledge $500 or more
For your unwavering support of documentary filmmaking, you will receive a signed copy of a DVD, a TEZETA T-shirt, and an original signed 11" x17" limited edition photograph. This amount can pay for an entire week of equipment rental in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. *Please add $15 for international delivery.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014
Pledge $1,000 or more
For your magnificent generosity and interest in documenting Armenians in Ethiopia, you will receive a signed copy of a DVD, a TEZETA T-shirt, an original signed 11" x17" limited edition photograph, and an invitation to have dinner with the Director and Associate Producer. *Please add $15 for international delivery.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014
Pledge $5,000 or more
For your spectacular display of unparalleled bounteousness, you will receive an Executive Producer credit at the end of the film, as well as a signed copy of a DVD, a TEZETA T-shirt, an original signed 11" x17" limited edition photograph, and an invitation to have dinner with the Director and Associate Producer. *Please add $15 for international delivery.Estimated delivery: Apr 2014