7:04 / Ethiopia & USA / Super 8 / Sound
Synopsis: Bereka is an archive of family history as told by matriarch Azalu Mekonnen and her granddaughter Samira Hooks. Filmed in Los Angeles and Gondar, Ethiopia, the film captures the Ethiopian coffee ceremony and explores migration, memory and rebirth. Bereka was shot on Super 8 film and hand processed with coffee and herbs at the Echo Park Film Center by Nesanet Teshager Abegaze.
Director: Nesanet Teshager Abegaze
Artist bio: Nesanet Teshager Abegaze is a filmmaker, entrepreneur, educator, and co-founder of Azla, whose profound love of storytelling and community unifies her wide-ranging career. At Stanford University, Nesanet earned her BA in Human Biology, an interdisciplinary major that allowed her to explore science, history, and the arts. Following her tenure supporting non-profit organizations at the New World Foundation, she earned her MA in Education from UCLA and taught at Los Angeles schools, where she developed an innovative health/life sciences curriculum with an emphasis on the arts.
Since leaving the formal education sector, Nesanet has immersed herself in many creative fields. As Vice President of Operations at Atom Factory, a renowned entertainment management company, she helped musicians and entertainers realize their unique artistic visions. From there, she and her mother co-founded Azla, a plant-based Ethiopian restaurant and catering company inspired by the idea that the dining table is a space to share food and your life. Working with and listening to her mother inspired Nesanet to preserve her family history via her lifelong interest in film. As an artist in residence at the Echo Park Film Center, she began working with analog formats and developed a passion for hand processing her super 8 film with ecologically sustainable materials. Her short film, Bereka (2020), screened at Sundance Film Festival, and won best experimental film at BlackStar Film Festival. She works on films, recipes, books, music projects, and teaches workshops to foster community while creating new narratives.