Mission StatementDrawn from personal perspectives, our project delves into the topic of identity. Specifically, what it means to be Mixed-race in the U.S.. We journey through the grey areas that form when one feels stuck between two worlds and unable to choose a single side.
About The Project
Note from the Writer
Over a span of two years I wrote the feature film, Tsehai. Now, my team and I are taking a piece of my feature and creating this short film as a proof of concept! I've been blessed to have found a team that not only supports this story, but has poured their hearts into it.
My inspiration to write Tsehai sparked in 2016 when I went to the LA Film Festival. At the festival, I watched a film called Woven, written and directed by Ethiopian-Eritrean American writer/director Salome Mulugeta. While watching the film I was blown away by the authentic representation of the Ethiopian-American experience. For the first time in my life I was watching a movie that reflected my own mother. Her language, her food, her jokes and gestures graced the screen--I wanted to yell to the world "OH MY GOD Y'ALL MY MOM IS IN A MOVIE!" Really, it was the truest sense of validation. An almost inexplicable feeling.
That night I walked out of the theater thinking "I'm going to write a script." I wanted to write a story that came from a vulnerable place. A story I felt would not only resonate with me, but others who haven't seen their stories on screen either.
I believe that art can create a domino effect; When we're willing to be our most vulnerable selves it gives others permission to do the same. That's how I felt when I watched Woven, and I hope to spread that feeling through my work as well.
Thanks so much for being here. We cannot wait to share Tsehai the short film with all you incredible humans.
Courtesy of Woven (2016)
What's Tsehai About ?
In mid 2000s SoCal suburbia, a Mixed-race teenager navigates her place in the world while caught between her clashing Ethiopian mother and White American father.
Courtesy of Waves (2019)
What Themes Do We Explore in Tsehai ?
In the full length feature, we will be exploring the beauty of Ethiopian culture, as well as the nuances of Mixed-race identity and the silliness of teenage girlhood. After all, it takes place in the mid 2000s so you know it’s gonna be fun!
However, for this project (the short film), we will take a microscopic look at the dynamic between Tsehai and her family -- both immediate (parents) and extended (Ethiopian aunties and Midwestern family).
Tsehai will be filming the last two weekends of August. We count ourselves lucky to live in a time & place where the Covid-19 Vaccines are more accessible. With that being said, we are planning to uphold capacity limits, hold CDC Covid-19 screenings, and many other compliances that were in place throughout the past year even with a majority of our cast and crew fully vaccinated. We understand that we are far from being past this pandemic, especially with the Delta Variant case numbers on the rise. We’ve allocated a portion of our budget for PPE, individually packaged food, and various resources to maximize protection against the virus.
One of our Producers, Athena Saxon, has worked the past year as a Covid Testing Coordinator for the Health and Safety Department of American Horror Story. Her experience on that crew has been a huge aid in our preparation to protect members of our team as we approach late August. The health and safety of our cast & crew are paramount.
Why Contribute ?
Filmmaking is a suprisingly pricey journey and we need our communities' support! As young independent filmmakers we're not exactly rolling in dough, but we're determined to create a high quality production while providing fair compensation to our fellow artists.
Our core team (David Ramos, Grace Ramos, Hannah Roberson, Athena Saxon, Sarah Shuman) will not receive compensation but your contribution will help in so many other ways!
Here's where your $$$ is going:
Your support not only means the world to us, but will give the entertainment industry even more proof that audiences are hungry for diverse, inclusive, and equitable representation!
Meet the Cast
We have such an incredible group of actors who truly embody the characters in Tsehai. We're confident you'll fall in love with their performances, just as we did!
SPREAD THE WORD
It’s our goal to reach beyond our own networks and connect with our audience authentically! If you’d like to pledge and support our mission in empowering BIPOC voices & creating more empathy through the medium of storytelling, YOU can make a difference!
Please share our story and campaign within your own social media, workplaces, friend groups, & families. We would be truly grateful as we cannot do this without you! Here are some examples of captions or posts to further our mission. Feel free to copy and paste!
I'm so excited to see the short film TSEHAI @tsehai.theshort , by filmmakers @sarahwshuman & @d.ram.iam. This is such a special story and one that everyone should check out.
Support them on @seedandspark: LINK
Help filmmakers @sarahwshuman & @d.ram.iam by supporting their heartfelt short film TSEHAI @tsehai.theshort about a mixed-race teenager caught between her clashing Ethiopian mother and White American father. Join them on @seedandspark: LINK
I just discovered TSEHAI @tsehai.theshort , a short film being campaigned by some amazing BIPOC filmmakers @sarahwshuman & @d.ram.iam. You've got to support this short film! Join them on @seedandspark: LINK
I just discovered TSEHAI, a short film being campaigned by some amazing filmmakers. You've got to support this BIPOC short film @tsehaitheshort! Join them on @seedandspark: LINK
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About This Team
What first began as a virtual writers group for a handful of emerging-BIPOC screenwriters to gain connections during the pandemic eventually blossomed into a production team. We've been thrilled to watch Tsehai grow from concept to outline to full-length feature script and can't wait to share the short-film version with the world.
Sarah Shuman, Writer/Director
Sarah Shuman is a Mixed-race writer/director whose passion for inclusive storytelling stems from personal experiences as well as the diverse voices around her. A graduate of UC Davis, she worked as an environmental justice AmeriCorps member and ventured into education. Recently returning from working in Costa Rica, Sarah is back home in Los Angeles, CA, to continue her new career as a filmmaker.
David Ramos, Director
David Ramos is an Asian American screenwriter & director who grew up in the Inland Empire of Southern California. He is 1st generation born in the U.S. & attributes his creative passions to exploring cross cultural experiences through character driven stories. Soon after graduating from film school he went to work in Post Production for Warner Bros. Entertainment on CW’s Roswell, New Mexico & now holds a position as an assistant in the show’s writers’ office. Apart from his work with the studio, David has also independently produced, written, & directed a variety of projects including shorts, music videos, & commercials housed in his company, Kimco Productions.
Athena Saxon, Producer
A Bay Area native, Athena Saxon grew up doing theatre and helping out at her parents' record store. Athena is a producer, actress, director, writer, and certified EMT with extensive experience in the Entertainment Industry. A Strategic and Corporate Communication graduate from Chapman University with minors in Television Writing, & Production, and Leadership studies; she started her career as a Post Production Assistant on CW's Legacies and then worked as a COVID Testing Coordinator on season 10 of American Horror Story. Currently she is freelancing as a set PA and set dresser on independent projects while pursuing acting.
Grace Ramos, Producer
Grace Ramos is a Philippine-American filmmaker striving to create community and dedicated to making representative content of diverse voices. While attending Point Loma Nazarene University, Grace has worked as a personal assistant for an actor, a producer at Kimco Productions, a video production coordinator for Pacific Arts Movement, and on crew for various studio network productions, including Fox and Netflix. And, she's just getting started.
Hannah Roberson, Casting Director
Born in raised in the OC, Hannah Roberson is a Multi-Ethnic creative who has dabbled in everything from screenwriting, musical theatre, scripted development, acting, unscripted casting, playwriting, casting, violin, to watercolor. She is a UCLA graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with minors in Theatre and Scandinavian Studies. Currently working as a D&I Creative Programming Trainee at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Hannah aims to amplify diverse voices, promote inclusivity, champion meaningful representation, and push for equality throughout the entertainment industry.
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