Faya Dayi: Jessica Beshir’s Ethiopian-Mexican Docu

In her documentary feature, Faya Dayi, Ethiopian-Mexican filmmaker Jessica Beshir explores the coexistence of everyday life and its mythical undercurrents.

This is a personal project, forcing Beshir to leave her hometown of Harar with her family as a teenager due to growing political strife.

The film she returned to make is about the city, its rural Oromo community of farmers and the harvesting of the country’s most sought-after export (the euphoria-inducing khat plant) .

The docu is neither nostalgic work nor an issue-oriented feature about a particular drug culture. Rather, she has constructed a film that uses light, texture and sound to illuminate the spiritual lives of people whose experiences often become fodder for ripped-from-the-headlines tales of migration.

The film will be shown Oct 1 at the AFI Docu Series.


Director-Screenwriter-Producer: Jessica Beshir.

Ethiopia/U.S./Qatar, 2021.

Running time: 120 min.

In Amharic, Harari and Oromo with English subtitles.