2019 Season

”You know, hyenas aren't the bad ones... these days it's humans you should fear." - Alem Sebsidi, film subject, Anbessa

The biggest condominium complex in East Africa, on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, promises thousands of people a better way of life. It’s being constructed, however, on the farmland of 10-year-old Asalif and his mother, leaving them just a tool shed with no electricity or running water. Anbessa is a lyrical documentary that takes us on a journey of childhood adventures and magical realism as we accompany a creative, sensitive and bold young boy using his imagination and sharp wits to battle forces beyond his control, and escape the stark reality of displacement. Meanwhile, the city is growing around them and new property developers are knocking at their door.


Mo Scarpelli
Country of Production: 
Ethiopia Italy USA
Amharic with English Subtitles
Filmmaker Bio(s): 
Mo Scarpelli

Mo Scarpelli is an Italian-American director and cinematographer of nonfiction cinema. Her debut feature-length documentary FRAME BY FRAME screened at SXSW 2015, Hot Docs (Audience Top Ten), BFI London Film Festival and 100+ other festivals, garnering 15+ jury and audience awards as well as a Cinema Eye Honors nomination. Mo is a selection of Berlinale Talents 2018, twice a recipient of Catapult Film Fund support, and has received the Speranza Female Filmmaker Award. Her documentary short work includes directing El Hara (NYJFF 2018) and Surviving Kensington (Vimeo Staff Pick 2017), and serving as cinematographer on films including Speaking is Difficult (Sundance 2016).