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The Water Will Carry Us Home


The Water Will Carry Us Home


THEME: Emerging

FRIDAY  |  3 - 5 PM

Animation | 2018 | 6 min. 47 sec.
Official Selection
Suggested Rating | PG
Country | United States
Language | No Dialogue
Director | Gabrielle Tesfaye
Cast | Gabrielle Tesfaye
[Blackstar Film Festival • CinemAfrica Sweden • Arthouse Asia • Lake International PanAfrican Film Festival • Zanzibar International Film Festival • Women of the Lens • Milwaukee Film Festival • Cream City Cinema College Award • Reel Sisters of the Diaspora • Urban Media Makers • Baltimore International Black Film Festival • Africa in Motion (AiM) Film Festival • CaribbeanTales International Film Festival]
Through living ritual and stop motion animation, The Water Will Carry Us Home reveals the story of stolen Africans being thrown off the slave ship whilst sailing through the Middle Passage. Upon crashing in the waves, the unimaginable happens when mermaids dwelling in the waters save these spirits. 
Eligible for Specialty Award:
  • Woman to Watch
  • Best Student Film | Collegiate


Gabrielle Tesfaye is an interdisciplinary artist versed in painting, animation, film, puppetry and interactive installation. Tesfaye was raised in the United States as a first-generation American, to an Ethiopian father and Indo Jamaican mother. Her extensive international travel and exposure to multiculturalism in her life, echoes itself in her mixed media approach to art making and cross-cultural content. Her work is rooted in cross-cultural diaspora, Afro-futurism, Southeast Asian puppetry practices and cultural storytelling. Tesfaye uses the body in the form of otherworldly mobile puppets, as a vessel to personify ancestral, emotional, and celestial ideas, transforming ancient symbolism into contemporary languages and consciousness. In addition to exhibiting, she uses her puppets in stop motion animation in cultural narrative filmmaking. 


Tesfaye’s background in film started at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, and continued at the Mahidol University International College in Bangkok, Thailand. Tesfaye obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Peck School of the Arts, with a double emphasis in painting/drawing and film/animation, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tesfaye has been internationally recognized in online and printed publications such as Majestic Disorder Magazine (UK) and Vogue (USA). Tesfaye has an active international exhibition record, including exhibited The Crypt Gallery (London), Gallery X (Dublin), and Thapae East Venue for Creative Arts (Thailand). She is the recipient of a series of important scholarships, including the Clarice George Logan Travel Award Scholarship, which enabled her artist residency at the Tholpavakoothu Puppetry Theatre in Kerala, India. As an Artist-in-Residence with Artists Working in Education, she has teaching experience with Milwaukee highschool students in community public art. Tesfaye is currently expanding to travel with her art, and create an in depth puppetry practice in the realms of audience participatory installation and animation.


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