Country: Ethiopia / US
Language: Harari, Oromiffa
Length 6m 39s
The short documentary Hairat was Brooklyn based filmmaker Jessica Beshir's directorial debut. Born in Mexico to an Ethiopian father and a Mexican mother, Jessica grew up in Harar and has known Yussuf Mume Saleh, "The Hyena Man of Harar", since childhood.
Shot in black and white, the film follows Yussuf for one night as he feeds hyenas outside the walls of Harar, a task he has been carrying out for 35 years. The voiceover is a love poem, written and read in Harari by Harar-based journalist and poet Elias Shagiz Adonay Tesfaye, who Jessica met by chance during her trip to film Yussuf.
Jessica has said of the film “I wanted it to feel like a poem. I wanted to distil the images to their essence. I wanted no distractions. I just wanted to focus on this man and his hyenas.”
Watch this haunting film on Vimeo.
Download the Press Kit for the film (18.5 MB).