Released independently by Mypheduh Films in 1993, Sankofa was filmed at the former slave castles in Cape Coast, Ghana. Shirikiana Aina and her husband, Haile Gerima, pleaded for foundation grants, bartered for plane tickets, lodging and crew and charged supplies on their credit cards to get the film made. After endless showings at film festivals around the world, the producers still couldn't get a distribution deal and were in debt. Undeterred, Gerima screened the film from city to city. During a fundraiser screening in Washington, D.C. the couple raised $20,000 that used to rent a theater to show the movie for 11 weeks. Eventually brokering similar deals in 16 other cities, they were able to gross around $3 million in the process.