A Bit About Us
Named after the internationally acclaimed film called SANKOFA (produced by the founders) , Sankofa Video, Books & Café carries with it an expectation of quality and discovery. Founded in 1998 by filmmaking couple, Haile and Shirikiana Gerima, Sankofa Video and Books specializes in videos and books about people of African descent around the world.
SANKOFA, which is an Adinkra term for “going back to our past in order to go forward,” obtained numerous awards and special screenings internationally, but domestically no distribution company would touch it. A story about a woman who travels to her past on a plantation, and other enslaved Blacks that plan and execute rebellion, was not an easy topic to get funded or distributed once completed.
Sankofa Video, Books & Cafe is nestled in the college campus corridor of Georgia Ave, in Washington, DC, across from Howard University, two blocks from Benjamin Banneker Sr. High School.
The Gerima couple have been producing films since the early 70’s when Haile Gerima completed BUSH MAMA and HARVEST 3000 YEARS as a graduate student at UCLA.
Mypheduh Films was created in 1982 by Shirikiana, Haile and sister Selome Gerima, in the basement of their home in Washington, DC, in order to control the distribution of their products. This company continues to operate along with their production company, Negod Gwad Productions, inside of the Sankofa building.
SANKOFA is an example of what community and artist teamwork could accomplish if the will was great enough.
It was this distribution model that successfully kept SANKOFA in theatres across the country for two years. The drama in the SANKOFA story and its distribution, demonstrate the significance of choosing “Sankofa” as a name for this establishment.