Ethiopian legend has it that khat, a stimulant leaf, was found by Sufi Imams in search of eternity. Inspired by this myth, Faya Dayi is a spiritual journey into the highlands of Harar immersed in the rituals of khat, a leaf that Sufi Muslims chewed for religious meditations – and Ethiopia’s most lucrative cash crop today. Through the prism of the khat trade, Faya Dayi weaves a tapestry of intimate stories of people caught between violent government repression, khat-induced fantasies and treacherous journeys beyond their borders, and offers a window into the dreams of the youth who long for a better life.
Duration: 120 minutes
Original Languages: Oromiffa, Harari
Country: Ethiopia, USA, Qatar
Jessica Beshir, Director | Producer | Cinematographer
Jessica Beshir is a Mexican-Ethiopian director, producer and cinematographer based in Brooklyn. She made her directorial debut with her short film, HAIRAT, which premiered at Sundance 2017/ Criterion/ Topic/ The Atlantic. She is a recipient of the Sundance documentary fellowship, Jerome Foundation, Doha Film Institute and NYSCA artist fellowships. Her short films including He Who Dances on Wood/PBS and Heroin/Topic, have screened at Festivals and museums around the world including the Rotterdam Film Festival, Hot Docs, IDFA, Tribeca Film Festival, Museum of the Moving Image NY and the Eye Film Museum Amsterdam among others. Faya Dayi is her feature film debut.
Janus Films / Criterion
UK and Ireland, Latin America, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey and India