Brunswick based, social enterprise, Youthworx is having a go at crowdfunding to raise money to complete their four-part series about a migrant who is feeling down on his luck when he meets an Ethiopian Genie.

Jebena Genie is the first comedy series by African/Australian’s Sam Gebreselassie & Sami Obama. It’s a highly entertaining & quirky interpretation of Aladdin that pays homage to the culture and traditions of Ethiopia while bringing a critical and fresh voice in social commentary.

Youthworx has never made a series before, but when Sam and Sami started asking for help, Founding manager, Jon Staley couldn’t say no; “Sami was always asking to borrow gear and when we realised how clever and important the content was we decided to help produce the show.”

“We’d love for this to be the first of many occasions where we help support marginalised young people in our community to create their own content so we’re really hoping the campaign gets lots of support”, he adds.

So often people from marginalised communities don’t get the same chances as mainstream Australians.

Jebena Genie deserves the professional finishing touches that will allow it to be competitive with other Australian productions. We’d love for a broadcaster to pick it up! If we do this series really well, it will also help us get funding to support other emerging creatives with their projects in the future”, says Bessie Byrne, the Business Development Coordinator at Youthworx.

The team is calling on Will Smith to share their fundraising campaign as they believe their mission is in line his values and role in the new Aladdin movie.

Growing up, Sami didn’t see many people of colour on Australian screens, and it didn’t take him long to realise there is a huge gap in the Australian media landscape. He’s now on a mission to be a role model for other young people in his community.

“When I did see people of colour on the screen it was almost always in the context of the United States. 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,” he said.

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 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”, says Sami.

The creatives are calling on people to help get Will Smith to notice, and asking people to post a link to the fundraiser along with the line; “I wish @willsmith would share Jebena Genie”.

Jebena Genie will launch in 2019 following the crowdfunding campaign. All donations above $20 will secure a seat at the premier. 

To donate, head over to the following link: https://chuffed.org/project/jebena-genie-crowdfunding