Rift Finfinnee

DIRECTED BY: Daniel Kötter COUNTRIES: Ethiopia, Germany YEAR: 2020 LANGUAGE(S): Amharic, Oromiffa SUBTITLES:GERMAN RUNTIME: 79 min

SECTION: Weekender 2022



Daniel Kötter’s film sends the viewer on a journey through the periphery of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in strictly composed images and a soundtrack that interweaves the original sounds in a complex way. Based on geography, architecture and everyday life, an allegorical narrative emerges about the urbanization of a society on the brink of civil war.

Rift Finfinnee documents the rural-urban transformation of space and its consequences for coexistence using the example of four settlements in the east of the Ethiopian capital: The village Dingaja,the social housing estate Bole Arabsa,the middle-class apartment blocks, Ayat Condominiums and the gated community, CCD Homes. Four different backdrops for Ethiopia’s profound social transformation, all four within sight of each other, but separated by a deep rift that divides city from non-city, present from projected future, Oromo from Amhara: the gorge of the Akaki River.

A single pedestrian bridge spans the “rift”, part of the Great African Rift Valley, which not only represents the geographical and administrative boundary between urban and rural areas, but also the symbolic rift between urban and rural life, which manifests itself in bloody conflicts between the urban Amhara, the politically dominant Tigray and the Oromo farmers.


Daniel Kötter is an internationally active filmmaker and music theater director. His works oscillate between different media and institutional contexts and combine experimental film techniques with performative and documentary elements. They have been shown worldwide at numerous film and video art festivals, in galleries, theaters and concert halls. His main works include the music theater trilogies Falsche Arbeit, Falsche Freizeit, Freizeitspektakel(2008-10), KREDIT RECHT LIEBE(2013-16) and STADT LAND FLUSS (2017-19, all with Hannes Seidl), the multi-channel trilogy Arbeit und Freizeit(2009-2011) and the film, performance and discourse series state-theatreon the conditions of the performative in the cities of Lagos, Tehran, Berlin, Detroit, Beirut, Mönchengladbach (2009-2014 with Constanze Fischbeck). His extensive film and text work KATALOG (2013) was created in 13 countries around the Mediterranean with a particular interest in spatial practices. Visual research repeatedly takes him to the African continent and the Middle East. In 2014-18, he worked with curator Jochen Becker (metroZones) and others on the research, exhibition and film project CHINAFRIKA. Under Construction. In 2017-20 he made the documentary film trilogy Hashti Tehran(2017, 60′), Desert View(2018, 84′) and Rift Finfinnee (2020, 80′) about urban peripheries in Tehran, Cairo and Addis Ababa. Hashti Tehrangewon the special prize of the German Short Film Award. Daniel Kötter is currently working on a series of spatial performances and 360° films on the landscape and social consequences of extractivism in Germany, West Papua, DR Congo and Estonia under the title landscapes and bodies.

FILMOGRAPHY KREDIT RECHT LIEBE (2013-2016) Katalog (2014) Hashti Tehran (2016) STADT LAND FLUSS (2017 – 2019) Chinafrika.mobile (2018) Desert View (2018) Yu Gong (2019) Rift Finfinnee (2021)

PRODUCER: Meike Martens CINEMATOGRAPHY: Daniel Kötter EDITED BY: Daniel Kötter MUSIC: Getatchew Merkuria

PRODUCTION: Blinker Film (mm@blinkerfilm.de) WORLD SALES: Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V. (distribution@arsenal-berlin.de)

Q&A with Daniel Kötter