21 Posted by - February 27, 2013 - Entertainment, Gallery, Review, Uncategorized

Originally from Dayton, Ohio and carrying a B.A. in Cinema from Denison University, Araia Tesfamariam has worked in visual media for the past 13 years. His work is as varied as it is distinguished. He has, among many others things, worked as associate producer on TV commercials for the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Virginia Lottery, and Jeep Liberty; worked as a copywriter for online commercials for Volved and Jangomail; produced “The Potter’s House,” a globally aired religious program; and has even filmed corporate videos for Wilderness Safaris in Zambia. This is his journey of self discovery in his own words….

BIG ARAIA Promotional Video


I have a story to tell you. A lost son of Africa defies the odds and reclaims his legacy. How did this happen? What does that even mean? Before I get to deep into my personal saga, you have to understand that the relationship between America and the African Continent is at once both dynamic and tragic. Nothing embodies the extremes of dreams differed, broken, and in some cases, realized more than the narrative of the African diaspora within the United States. Whether, as the descendants of slaves or immigrants, people of African ancestry in America have had to overcome many systematic obstacles to success and navigate the American melting pot while either trying to maintain their culture or rebuild one.

My father was from Eritrea, a small country in the Horn of Africa. He died shortly before I was born. My mother was African-American, and as she had very little connection to his people back in Asmara, my father’s death meant the loss of cultural and family ties to Eritrea.  I grew up knowing what I was, but not knowing much about who I was. My mother and I searched all over the United States for someone who knew my father.  For the first thirty years of my life, the search seemed fruitless. My quest to fill in the many blanks that existed in my African family history was producing dead end after dead end. That is, until an unexpected phone call from an old acquaintance opened a door that had been closed to me since birth.

My mom talks about connecting with Eritrean culture.

Suddenly, I was thrust into a world of cousins, aunts, and uncles that seemed to number in the hundreds. Where there had been a familial vacuum, now existed a never-ending network of people who looked like my father, grew up with my father, and knew my father. The rapid exposure was overwhelming, there was, and still is, so much to learn.  And from the moment I first laid eyes on a n Eritrean relative in the states, I knew I had to go home.Having working in TV and video production all of my adult life, it seemed to make sense that I should visually document the experience.  This is the realization of a dream many African-Americans have. To find their roots and hold history in their own hands. I am lucky enough to get an opportunity to make that dream a reality, and it is an event that is meant to be shared.In this documentary, entitled Big Araia,  you will see me return to my father’s home, meet his family in Eritrea for the first time and begin to fill in the missing puzzle pieces of his past. It’s more than a personal narrative, it also symbolizes the yearning many African-Americans have to reconnect with their lost ancestry.
This is a film about the diaspora. It’s bigger than just going to a new country to meet new people, this is the realization of a dream. I am fortunate enough to get an opportunity to make that dream a reality, and it is an experience that is meant to be shared. Eritrea is a country few people know about. The small East African nation holds within it a people and culture that has survived an epic war and built a brighter future in its short, but extraordinary existence. I have a story to tell you, learn more


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