2016 – Haile Gerima
Born in Ethiopia, Haile Gerima is a writer, producer and director, best known for his acclaimed film Sankofa (1993) which was acclaimed internationally. Throughout his career, Gerima has used his work as a critical lens for personal growth and creative development. His concern for people of African descent is evident, especially, where the representation of their image is concerned. His most recent film, Teza, was another personal drama, set in Ethiopia and Germany. The film chronicled the return of an African intellectual to his country of birth, during the repressive Marxist regime of Haile Mariam Mengistu. Teza was also well received by International Critics.
An alumnus of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Film and Television, Gerima has spent over 40 year making high value, low budget films outside of commercial institutions. Gerima has been a distinguished professor of film at Howard University since 1975. He is also a leading member of the L.A. Rebellion film movement, also known as the Los Angeles School of Black Filmmakers.