86 minutes
Ethiopia | Italy | USA

A boy caught between an ancient and a new world navigates modernization on his own terms. By becoming a lion (anbessa) he can fight back against the forces outside of his control.

Directed by Mo Scarpelli
Produced by Caitlin Mae Burke, Mo Scarpelli
Executive Producers -  Danielle Perissi, Gelila Bekele
Associate Producers - D.D. Wigley, Pierce Varous
Director of Photography - Mo Scarpelli
Editors - Nico Leunen, Thomas Pooters
Music - Erik K Skodvin

A Rake Films production
in association with Moby Group

Sales by Lightdox
Distribution with ARTE/ZDF, & Torch Films (USA)


"A masterful work of sensory ethnography."
Film Stage

"Visually arresting... incredibly fascinating and absolutely worth watching."
— Film Threat

"Eloquent... a tender portrait"
— Sight & Sound

"ANBESSA does not play tricks...  beautiful, humorous and thought-provoking."
— Little Village

"Hope and despair intermingle in a profoundly cinematic mix."
— Hammer To Nail

** One of Filmmaker Magazine's Most Anticipated Films of 2019
** One of's 16 Great Documentaries of 2019


streaming now on

Vimeo on Demand (worldwide) here >

TrueStory (worldwide) here >

GuideDoc (worldwide) here >

iTunes (most of world) here >

Amazon Prime (USA) here >

Google Play (some of Europe, USA, Asia) here >

Vudu (USA) here >

DaFilms (Europe) here >


Asalif, the young protagonist of this film, is a genius.

If you want to contribute to him and his future, you can here: 

IBAN (Euro) : BE30 9674 2308 9411

PayPal (USD) : 

All the money in this PayPal account is sent to Asalif's bank account in Ethiopia.

Thank you.


69° Berlinale International Film Festival
Generations Competition Selection 
Nominated for the Glashütte Documentary Prize

IDFA 2019
Kids & Docs Competition Selection

40° Durban International Film Festival
Awarded Special Mention for Best Documentary

Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival
World Cinema Selection

Rooftop Films


22° Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

Human Rights Watch Film Festival London

Olafur Eliasson Studios
special screening in the artist's studio in Berlin

Awarded El Mirador Award for Best Documentary Feature

21° Olympia Intl Film Festival for Children & Youth
Awarded ECFA Award for Best Documentary

Sole Luna Doc Fest
Awarded Best Cinematography Prize

MountainFilm Telluride
Awarded Best Director Award
Awarded Honorary Mention for Best Documentary Feature

Festival Internacional de Cine de Cartagena de Indias (FICCI)
Opening Night Film

Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA) 2019
Awarded Best Cinematography Prize

RiverRun Intl Film Festival 
Awarded Special Mention for Best Documentary Feature

Afrikaldia Film Festival (Basque Country, Spain)
Awarded Special Mention for Best Feature Documentary

Fabrique du Cinéma Awards 2020
Nominated for Best International Documentary

Copenhagen Architecture Festival

Opening Night screening for the 2019 C40 World Mayor's Summit

Addis Ababa International Film Festival
Opening Night Film

Ethiopia Film Week London
Opening Night Film

UNICEF Innocenti Film Festival - Italy

Opening Night Film

Woods Hole Film Festival - USA

Awarded Runner-Up for Best Documentary Feature

19° Rome Independent Film Festival
Stockfish Film Festival
This Human World Film Festival
16° Les Mois du Film Documentaire - Paris
Docudays Ukraine
Busan International Children & Youth Festival
Maryland Film Festival
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival
Cleveland International Film Festival
Heartland Film Festival
Ljubljana International Film Festival
Nairobi Film Festival - Kenya
Cucalorus Film Festival - USA
San Francisco IndieFest
Pripovedovalski Festival - Slovenia
Take One Action Film Festival - Scotland
Arquiteturas Film Festival - Lisbon
Mi Primer Festival - Peru
Bahamas Film Festival
New Hampshire Film Festival - USA
FlyWay Film Festival - USA
Tumbleweed Film Festival - USA
DC Environmental Film Festival - USA
Ashland Independent Film Festival - USA
Port Townsend Film Festival - USA
Gimli Film Festival - Canada
Moab Film Festival - USA
International Children's Film Festival Bangladesh
Northwest Film Forum By Design Festival - Seattle, USA
The Other Cinema series - London
FilmScene - Iowa City, USA
Art of Buna - Cologne, Germany
Doctober at the Pickford Film Centre - Seattle, USA
UCLA Luskin School & African Studies Center
CineCulture at Fresno State University


Erik K Skodvin's first solo film score evokes other-wordly
dreamscapes that capture the atmosphere of the film.
Available digitally and on vinyl from Miasmah.



International Sales & Festivals

Anna Berthollet

North American Sales & Festivals


Educational Sales &  Screenings

information here >


Download it here >


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