Oduu Haaraya



In a world of seemingly infinite connectivity of Oromos across the globe, one can imagine the difficulty of producing an Oromo motion picture that covers all facets of Oromo culture, language, and most importantly livelihood. Producing motion pictures that covers all aspects of being an Oromo is incredibly difficult if not impossible. Despite this predicament it is uniquely satisfying to see a motion picture of this nature because of the incredible needs and expectations of the 21st century. Once in a while a truly talented director arises that can take on the challenges and produce something brilliant and truly satisfying. And, when a woman breaks on to the scene with a fantastic debut that blows away both critics and audiences alike the movie is that much more satisfying to all . Far from being a cautionary tale, it highlights how only few ordinary films have the means not only to fulfill our emotional needs, but also clarify our relationships with the people we associate with.

Now, we have begun to indulge our Oromo society to experiment on a movie dramatically sensational with outstanding acting which leaves the audiences in awe. It’s one of the most complex films of any Oromo motion picture in a generation and some consider it provocative and edgy. In fact the movie in terms of storytelling, emotional scenes, action performance, attention to detail and especially the frighteningly accurate soundscape performed and produced by Keyirat Yusuf has quite surpassed beyond the audience expectations. As Oromo’s we must support our producers, writers, actors, and actresses, especially when a woman breaks into a scene with a spectacular film. Ms. Yusuf not only produced, wrote, directed this incredible film, she was also one of the main actresses.

There has been no film that comes close to such pedigree that has been made since Oromos’ film productions have begun to surface on the scene. Therefore, it is incumbent on the global Oromo community to encourage the likes of Keyirat Yusuf and her colleagues to continue so they can build on the existing foundation.

The bar is now higher than ever for the next generation of Oromos’ motion picture productions. There is something slightly subversive and satisfyingly spot on when a movie about love and family relationship turns on a solitary detail. The films scene goes through atmosphere of dramatic turn when the aunt’s unbearable protection of her niece and a close friend becomes heavy-handed, thus infringing their relationship and leading the audience into an utterly genuine jolt. Perhaps, movies these days can be one of the most important everyday aspects of life for many western audiences where they are often used to not only tell a story but to sensationalize western lifestyle and take on lives of their own. It has a sense of revealing what is difficult to share in words, while encapsulating a tale of story of one hundred years, in a matter of few minutes. Asaantii has touched the hearts and minds of many viewers, those who had the opportunity to watch the entire movie with friends and family were left with hopes of seeing a sequel.

The movie Asaantii debuted its tour in Chicago, IL and Minneapolis, MN community theaters in late November and December last year. In the past few months they were able to tour five cities across the United State. The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic with audience members encouraging the producers and actors to produce a sequel . The turnout in Minneapolis was far greater than expected although Chicago, Atlanta, and Columbus also had an overwhelmingly positive response. Perhaps, proving the creativity of the producers and actors as well as actresses. The movie producer decided to show it twice on separate occasions in Minneapolis for now with a possible theater show in Little Oromia in the near future.

Up until now, virtually all Oromo films produced entered the marketplace the old-fashioned way on DVD set. Asaantii’s producers have however, diverged from the usual DVD market, instead opting for touring theaters in predominantly Oromo dominated cities. According to the director and producer, Keyirat Yusuf, “once we reach our expected revenue we will release the film on DVD.” Although, the movie was produced on low budget to compensate for expenses incurred the unusual route of touring local theaters makes financial sense to allow for a future sequel and perhaps a growing trend of releasing to theaters.

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