Vancouver International Film Festival 2022
Screening Dates
VIFF 2022

When his mother receives a late-night plea for help, Robel (Joseph Smith), an Eritrean-American teenager, must transport a suitcase of cash and medicine to a family friend in desperate need. Accompanied by Fahmi (Natnael Mebrahtu), his Ethiopian-American best friend, Robel sees their trek through south Seattle grow increasingly labyrinthine. As they pass abandoned houses and encounter cab drivers, shopkeepers, and other members of the working class, they grow aware of how their rapidly gentrifying, constantly redeveloping city is slowly forcing out people of colour such as themselves. As Robel and Fahmi race against the clock to complete their errand, they must likewise consider that the only way of life they’ve ever known may now be on borrowed time.

Zia Mohajerjasbi’s Emerald City odyssey is clear-eyed and tender in turns. As he investigates themes of personal identity, family responsibility, and community, he does so through nuanced interactions rather than didactic proclamations. Employing Nicholas Wiesnet’s cinematography to tremendous effect, Mohajerjasbi ensures that his striking depiction of Seattle reflects issues running rampant in countless other North American cities.

In English and Tigrinya with English subtitles

Cast: Joseph Smith, Natnael Mebrahtu, Selamawit Gebresus, Esther Kibreab, Haileselassie Kidane

Vanguard: Rising international talents bring their singular visions to the screen

VIFF Signature

The Cinematheque is pleased to join with the Vancouver International Film Festival in co-presenting these in-cinema screenings during VIFF 2022. Please note that Cinematheque Passes and Ticket Packs are not valid for any Vancouver International Film Festival screenings.