TIFF Bell Lightbox 3 Thu, May 2, 2019 9:00 PM
Scotiabank Theatre 13 Fri, May 3, 2019 12:45 PM
Aga Khan Museum Sun, May 5, 2019 3:15 PM
Film Info
Country Listing:Italy
Premiere Status:North American Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2019
Accessibility:Full Subtitles
Program Category:World Showcase
Film Subjects:Africa
Urban Cultures & Issues
By Program - Sort:Closed Captions & Full Subtitles
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Mo Scarpelli
Producer(s):Caitlin Mae Burke
Executive Producer(s):Danielle Perissi
Gelila Bekele
Editor(s):Nico Leunen
Thomas Pooters
Cinematography:Mo Scarpelli
Composer:Erik K. Skodvin
Sound:Tijn Hazen


Ancient Ethiopian farmlands are increasingly being cleared for dense condo development. Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have already been displaced from their homestead to the outskirts of sprawling capital Addis Ababa, and it seems looming cranes are closing in on them again. With little to do, the precocious boy scavenges wires and bulbs from sprawling construction sites to literally keep the lights on in their makeshift house. Pushed around by new neighbour kids, the sensitive child retreats into his imagination, the only place where he can rage like a lion against the forces he can't control. Old enough to sense impending realities but still innocent enough to play, Asalif provides an irresistibly tender foil for the city's coming-of-age story. Rare and thoroughly beautiful, Anbessa observes the ever-forward march of progress with true originality. Myrocia Watamaniuk

World Showcase program sponsored by Delta Air Lines.

Sunday, May 5 screening presented in partnership with The Aga Khan Museum.