Journey: A New Film on HIV/AIDS
Belay Workneh, is once again at work on a new film entitled
'Zemad's Journey.' Millions of young girls throughout
Africa grow up dreaming of life in a big city. The film documents
as their dreams turn into a nightmare when they fall prey to
unemployment, prostitution and sexual abuse.
Belay, through his short docudrama,
demonstrates the relationship between HIV/AIDS and poverty. The
film focuses on an Ethiopian teen named Zemad, and her struggle
to survive in the tumult of modern day Addis Ababa. In addition
to Zemads sojourn to the city (shot in 1999), the film also
incorporates dramatization of other youth's stories into
Zemad's own life.
We first meet her in a small
village in rural Ethiopia, where she yearns to escape her father's
strict rules and move to the capital. The filmmaker follows her
to Addis Ababa and documents her daily life. She, like thousands
of others, is impacted by the economic and social turmoil wracking
havoc on her nation. Zemad contracts HIV, and as she becomes sick,
her last wish is to be reunited with her distant father and spend
her remaining days in her hometown, which in the past she had
dreamed of leaving forever.
In 28-minutes, Belay tells an
extraordinary human story of dream, courage and disillusionment
and makes the point that HIV and poverty are inexorably twined
together. He hopes that local TV stations will pick up his project.
"This film is crucial for public television because through
it the audience will gain knowledge and will be exposed to Ethiopian
culture and the drastic outcome AIDS is having in Ethiopia and
the rest of the African continent", he said. "The audience
will come to understand the effects, challenges and consequences
facing young women in developing countries."
Look out also for the soon to
be released sound track to the film. San Francisco Producer/Composer
JJ Hollingsworth, Composer and Music Director Alexi Alrich, and
Elias Negash are collaborating on a stunning music that includes
Ethiopian, East Indian, Celtic, and Jazz music. The CD features
Tizita, a chamber music ensemble, and the San Francisco Sate Chorus.
Nonprofit organizations and friends of the filmmaker have funded
For financial contribution or other assistance, please contact
the producer at (510) 232-0854.