Hello cinema friends,

Filmmaker Jessica Beshir left Ethiopia for Mexico at sixteen, her family fleeing the political fallout of the Mengistu and Derg regimes. Returning as an adult, she began capturing images of her childhood home — chasing illusory fragments of nostalgia and embracing fresh observations of the social, religious, and economic forces influencing the lives of Ethopians. Chief among those forces was khat, the powerful leaf instrumental to personal spirituality and the main driver of the rural economy.

Over ten years, Beshir would shoot Faya Dayi in the Harar highlands with several individuals who generously lent themselves to her camera. What results is not a straightforward issue-piece on political migrations, drug cultures, or even a personal reflection of history. Rather, the film is as hypnotic and melancholic as the khat leaf’s effects, culminating in a lush, dreamlike euphoria.

Faya Dayi runs Friday, October 29 - Thursday, November 4. Tickets are free for True/False 2021 volunteers with a valid volunteer badge. 

See you on the other side,