Lily Usher has worked at BBC Studios, Channel 5, Lime Pictures, CAA, and has completed an MA in Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity at Birkbeck. She has worked in Creative Development at The Independent Film Trust (IFT) and most recently works as an Assistant Producer at Story Compound. Lily is currently producing her first documentary short for the BFI Doc Society: Made of Truth fund. The doc is set in Ethiopia and explores the memories of a survivor of the Ethiopian Red Terror.
Set against the backdrop of the Ethiopian Civil War in the 1970s and at present; The Medallion is a story of hope, strength, and resistance. Ruth (Director) was barely a teenager when her mother passed down her Medallion, etched with a golden portrait of Nefertiti. A symbol of beauty and strength. Not only was this medallion an artefact, it was an emblem of her mother’s inconceivable plight; captured in middle school by the Derg communist military regime and raised in a prison camp for years, separated from her family. This story follows her early memories of the Derg Genocide, and how she first became in possession of the medallion upon her escape. This medallion symbolised her freedom, and was passed down to Ruth, for her to pass on to her children, to keep her family and country’s story alive.
After celebrating her 25th birthday and comprehending the woman she is becoming, Ruth returns to Ethiopia amidst a new civil war. Ruth asks her mother all her previously unanswered questions and journeys to understand how her mother’s plight has shaped her life, and the woman she is today. The Medallion highlights the bond between a mother and daughter, it’s a story of resilience against all odds and shines a light on current Ethiopian struggles as well as the abundance of joy and culture that still breathes through the country in dark times.
UPDATE September 2023:
The film is finished and has been picked up by a major US distributor which is amazing. It has been selected and seen at a few film festivals too and very well received. We will share the trailer asap. We will also share where the film can be seen when available publicly.