So what's this all about?
About two years ago, two young men had a dream, or more accurately – a wish. Their wish was to launch a comedic, unique, forward thinking show that would pay homage to the culture and traditions of Ethiopia.
So the two young men, led by their passion and comedic wit created Jebena Genie.
Jebena Genie is a four-part comedic series that is loosely based on the well-known film, Aladdin. It brings an important perspective, often not appreciated by mainstream media, but all to familiar to so many people.
The story is fresh and funny and it deserves to be seen by a wide audience but we need your help to complete it and make sure the world (especially Will Smith) realise how great these two young Melbourne creatives are.
The pair, Sam and Sami, are self-taught writers and producers living in Melbourne, Australia. Sami Obama is an advocate for Ethiopian culture through dance and theatre. He is managed by Aran Michael Management and is frequently found leading city wide dance performances and classes. Sam Gebreselassie is a rising stand-up comedian who has recently moved from New Zealand bringing a critical and fresh voice in comedy and social commentary.
This is the start of a new age of young, African creatives immersing cultures and provising commentary in an individual and comedic way.
But as you know, sometimes we all need a little bit of help from a Genie, and that’s you -you’re our Genie.
This is the first series produced by Youthworx but hopefully the start of many more independent productions. For over 10 years Youthworx has been dedicated to helping young people build the skills they need to take on the world and tell important stories.
With a community of fantasitc creatives, now is the time to get behind our independent storytellers. If you want to change the story, you must first change the storytellers, and that's what Youthworx is trying to do.
Why's it called Jebena Genie?
A Jebena is a traditional coffee making instrument from Ethiopia, the birth place of coffee. The coffee itself is called buna.
Ever tried traditional Ethiopian coffee from a Jebena and wondered if your life was about to change? Be careful what you wish for!
So why do we need help?
As a child, Sami didn’t see many people like him on the screen. The more he grew up, the more he realised the huge gap in the Australian media.
"When I did see people of colour on the screen it was almost always in the context of the United States so everybody naturally told me I should move overseas to achieve my goals. They'd say 'there's plenty of opportunities out there for you' and I felt extremely sad that people thought I should give up and move halfway across the world to get an opportunity when we have an industry here with a multitude of African talents."
Sami decided he would challenge the Australian media so that other young people could be inspired and have role models to look up to.
"This series will bring light and inspire those who have been told to give up on their dreams. It's time to be proactive in what we believe in, stand together and create magic. It’s easy to give up and choose the easy option, and it’s easy to follow the crowd,” he said. “It's time to tell our own story – our own way. It doesn’t always have to be about ethnicity, we are stronger and more versatile than a stereotype, and now it’s time to show Australia what we have. This is for those who came before us, and those who will come after us. We all have a responsibility, and if you’re not the type of person to stand up yourself, then we need to be the people that supports those who do.”
What are we wishing for?
Our single wish, well, we’re not going to lie, we have more than three wishes. Unfortunately magic (as much as we would like it) doesn’t make the world go round. It’s money.
A lot does go into making quality productions and to ensure Jebena Genie is on a playing field with other Australian series we need your help!
> $2K will allow us to have the show color graded professionally to make it look and feel real.
> $2K to help bring our genie to life, it can’t be a genie show without magical visual effects.
> $2K will help us fix the sound and add music and sound effects so we can all hear the importance of the story.
> $2K will help us finish editing.
> $2K for marketing and having a public screening for you all to see.
And here are some amazing perks for supporting us that you can’t live without:
1. Donate $20 and you'll get a ticket to the premiere of Jebena Genie.
2. Donate $100 and we'll send you a link to a 4 episode Eskista (Ethiopian dance) Master Class which Sami will do, breaking down the dance step by step. You’ll learn Eskista in no time. Plus a ticket to the premier.
3. Donate $100 and your name will be featured in the show credits. Plus a ticket to the premier.
4. Donate $300 and you'll get Sam&Sami performing at the your next function/event. Sami will perform traditional Ethiopian dancing, and Sam will perform stand up for 20 minutes. Plus a ticket to the premier.
5. Donate $3000 and Youthworx will make you a micro documentary on a subject of your choice! Plus you get a ticket to the Premier.
These are just suggestions, please donate any amount you can, it'll be much appreciated.
After completion it will be pitched to Netflix, SBS and ABC.
Our wish for this show is for Will Smith to see it and I belive it’s possible. As a social media campaign we are challenging you to share this on social media with this wish - "I wish @willsmith would share jebena Genie" with this link attached to it. If enough of us share it, I'm confident that it will reach Will Smith and he will share it because that’s just the kinda guy he is.
If you can donate in anyway, please do or if you know any organizations or communities who would sponsor us, please forward this to them and we will credit them in the show.