Direction: Mo Scarpelli Production: Danielle Perissi, Gelila Bekele, Caitlin Mae Burke, Misgan Assefa Lulie , D.D. Wigley, Pierce Varous, Mo Scarpelli Cinematography: Mo Scarpelli Editing: Nico Leunen, Thomas Pooters Music: Erik K Skodvin
Ten-year-old Asalif and his mother have been displaced by a huge condominium on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. To fight back against those casting him out, Asalif creates a fantasy where he becomes the strongest hero he knows — the lion (anbessa). His newfound power takes him to places he never imagined and allows him to face his greatest fears, but Asalif realizes he must find the strength that resides in him as a boy to deal with the quiet violence threatening his country, his family, and his future.
Mo Scarpelli is an Italian-American director and cinematographer of nonfiction cinema. Her first solo-directed documentary feature, ANBESSA, premiered at the Berlinale 2019 in Generations KPlus competition, and was nominated for the Glashütt Documentary Award. Her feature documentary FRAME BY FRAME (codirected with Alexandria Bombach) screened at SXSW 2015, Hot Docs (Audience Top Ten Films), BFI London Film Festival and 100+ other festivals, garnering 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. Her documentary short work includes directing EL HARA (NYJFF 2018) and SURVIVING KENSINGTON (Vimeo Staff Pick 2017), and serving as cinematographer on films including SPEAKING IS DIFFICULT (Sundance 2016). Mo’s current film, shot in Venezuela, is in early post production.