Sally was a rebel who, after the fall of Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassi in 1974, became a member of the People’s Revolutionary Party to fight against the dictatorial regime of Mengistu Haile Mariam, before one day disappearing without a trace. She came from a wealthy family of intellectuals. Her father was the emperor’s confidant, and her sister worked as an artist, TV presenter, teacher, and for the United Nations – partly in Ethiopia, partly in Canadian exile. Director Tamara Mariam Dawit is one of Sally’s nieces. Four decades after her disappearance, she travels to Ethiopia to visit her family there. As none of her aunts know what happened when Sally went missing, the filmmaker sets off on a research trip into the past and encounters one of the darkest chapters in Ethiopian history.

FINDING SALLY Direction: Tamara Mariam Dawit, DCP, OF m. engl. UT, 78 min


Tamara Mariam Dawit is a producer and director and runs a production company Gobez Media that produces Ethiopian film, TV, digital and music content. She has produced content for CBC, Bravo, MTV, Radio Canada, Discovery and NHK, among other networks. She directed the short film GRANDMA KNOWS BEST? in 2014 and in 2020 the feature documentary FINDING SALLY. (African Women in Cinema Blog)

On the film’s website, Tamara Mariam Dawit writes: ‘I hope that FINDING SALLY can be a plea for freedom of speech and critical thinking, and also an indictment of silence in general in Ethiopia. Even today, as young people frequently protest the government, their elders are still hesitant to talk about their own activism and past losses which closely mirror many aspects of the present-day situation. I hope that this film can be a catalyst to discussing the country’s past and engaging in critical discourse about the road ahead.’