Balkan Dox

Faya Dayi

Ethiopia, United States, Qatar
2021 — 120 min / Black and white



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.

Official Trailer

Directors' Biography

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.

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Jessica Beshir


Jessica Beshir


Jessica Beshir


Jeanne Applegate

Dustin Waldman


Tom Efinger

Screenings & Awards

Visions Du Réel, Switzerland, 2021
Grand Prix

IFFR Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2021

Sundance, United States, 2021

Hot Docs, Canada, 2021

True/False, United States, 2021

Official Film Website