About the filmmakers

Sephora Woldu

Director: Sephora Woldu Cinematographer: Richard Durante

Director: Sephora Woldu
Cinematographer: Richard Durante

Sephora Woldu is a self-taught director and general hooligan living in San Francisco, California (USA). She attended the University of California, Los Angeles and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts, Women’s Studies in 2010. It was through her Concentration on Women in Media courses at UCLA that she was exposed to screenwriting and first thought about directing. After undergraduate study, Sephora served in the US Peace Corps as an Education Volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga (2010-2011), and upon returning to the United States she began to get funky. Releasing mixtapes, hosting public lectures (topics ranging from Paul Robeson to German Disco), and writing scripts. Impresa! is her first film and will debut at SFBFFXV.

On her free time, Sephora maintains a travel blog with three comrades on a quest to see thirty countries by the time they turn 30. It’s called, wait for it.. 30xthirty. Exciting!

And regardless of the potential impending fame, Sephora will continue accepting new friends on a rolling basis.

Richard Durante

A Bay Area native and avid cinephile, Richard Alex Durante has been working behind the camera since 2005.  His first film was about an orange with no purpose in life, and his current film is about a young woman who’s brimming with it.  Richard enjoys a well-made sandwich, the sound of film running through a projector, and the work of Karl Freund.  He also enjoys writing long, meandering bios in the third-person, but would rather take this time to instill some wisdom from his spirit animal, David Was:  When you find yourself faced with a challenge that feels as if the walls are closing in – do not panic.  Simply take a deep breath and focus your chi.  Reach forward into that empty space before you.  Open the door.  Get on the floor.  Everybody walk the dinosaur

Why a silent film?

Hello friends. Sephora speaking:

As a child of Eritrean parents, I have not had the opportunity to see where my parents lived in Asmara but I look forward to the day. I knew that I wanted to make a film featuring Eritrean people but wanted to figure out the most honest way to convey my voice. Should it be dubbed in Tigrinya? English? My family’s history is woven in those languages and more. I could not make the film in full Tigrinya as that is not my experience, and to create an English language film felt inconclusive.

A silent film with simple, bi-lingual text slides could carry the plot better than any dialogue that I could have written. Also, the lack of dialogue rehearsals and line memorization was ideal for the business individuals featured as most of the showcased entrepreneurs have never acted before. However, the premier beauty of Impresa! as silent film is that the score becomes another tool to carry story arc and illustrate the film’s focus. To showcase classic Tigrinya and Amharic songs from the era of my parents and their peers is to acknowledge the successful transfer of cultural pride. Even as the protagonist skates downtown in a beat up baseball cap, jeans and a t-shirt, her experiences can still be illustrated with the songs of previous generations.

About the film

Impresa! is a film about a young woman in San Francisco contemplating starting a business: her own art gallery. She is a first generation Eritrean American, and the perils of her untraditional business venture worry the family. Our protagonist goes on a day trip in the Bay Area visiting the most creative Eritrean and Ethiopian owned businesses to prove that innovation has a place in the community. The short film is a light, uplifting look into the ficticious story of one girl abandoning cultural fiscal fears and chasing entrepreneurship.

What are the languages featured in Impresa! ?

Impresa! is a story told in English and Tigrinya subtitles. Tigrinya is the official language of Eritrea, and while commonly spoken and understood, the East African nation is country of many people and languages.

What does the title mean?

Impresa! is Italian for “an enterprise or undertaking”. We chose it for its meaning, & because Italian, English, Amharic, and Tigrinya will be incorporated in the film. It translates in all languages!