The Teshome Gabriel Memorial Award, established in 2010 at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (TFT), has been endowed with a gift from Gabriel's widow, Maaza Woldemusie, and his children, Mediget and Tsegaye Teshome. The fellowship was established to support graduate students and doctoral candidates in cinema and media studies and their research and travel in the area of emerging and diaspora cinemas; or the study of film, television and technology and their relation to social change in Africa.
Gabriel, who died in 2010, began teaching cinema and media studies at TFT in 1974 and was closely associated with UCLA's African Studies Center. An internationally recognized authority on Third World and post-colonial cinema, he was a pioneering scholar and activist.
“He was a brilliant, gracious, elegant and generous man,” said Teri Schwartz, dean of TFT. “Teshome was a consummate professional and a truly beloved faculty member at TFT.”
Gabriel's books include “Third Cinema in the Third World: The Aesthetic of Liberation” (Umi Research Press, 1982) and “Otherness and the Media: The Ethnography of the Imagined and the Imaged” (Routledge, 2016). He also published numerous articles and was founding director of several journals, including Emergencies and the Ethiopian Fine Arts Journal. His influential 1990 essay, “Nomadic Aesthetic and the Black Independent Cinema,” received an Opus Award from the Village Voice for "charting out a genuinely new theory of black cinema." The term "nomadic aesthetic," which Gabriel coined, has come to be widely used in critical discussions of the art, music and literature of the Third World.
“The principal characteristic of Third Cinema," Gabriel wrote, "is not so much where it is made, or even who makes it, but rather, the ideology it espouses. The Third Cinema is that cinema of the Third World which stands opposed to imperialism and class oppression in all their ramifications and manifestations.”