“Anbessa” captures one boy taking on modernization on his own terms, revealing a unique and magical perspective on the myth of “progress” that entraps us all. Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have been displaced from their farmland on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by the construction of a condominium. As they watch the buildings take shape, the condo’s trash becomes Asalif’s treasure, but this is threatened when he’s chased out by new tenants, and garbage trucks start hauling away items he could use. Asalif uses his imagination to battle forces beyond his control by becoming Anbessa: the lion.
Mo Scarpelli is an Italian - American director and cinematographer of nonfiction cinema. Her debut documentary “Frame by Frame” screened at SXSW 2015, Hot Docs (Audience Top Ten), BFI London Film Festival and over 100 other festivals, garnering over 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. She directed “El Hara” and “Surviving Kensington”, and served as cinematographer on films including “Speaking is Difficult” (Sundance 2016).