Director: Joachim Demmer

Production: WG Films, USA, 2017,
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English, Ethiopian languages 80 mn

Ethiopia is one of the most productive and profitable agricultural areas in the world. With the consent of the EU or the World Bank, the Ethiopian government leases millions of hectares of supposedly unused land to foreign investors.
Produce is exported far from Africa while hundreds of tons of food aid arrive in the country by air.
Yet this is more than a disgraceful inconsistency: in recent years the country has experienced the greatest forced expulsions in modern history, the loss of livelihood for smallholders and protests have been severely repressed.
Yes, desperation urges victims to take action because “dead donkeys fear no hyenas” …

Please note the full version of this film is not available in  Germany, Switzeland and Austria.

Director's statement

What I saw when the idea came was very simple. As food aid was going into the country, food products were being exported out.
I was simply curious to see how this could be the case.
What I found was that lives were being destroyed.
I discovered that the World Bank and other development institutions, financed by tax money, were contributing to these developments in the region. I was ashamed, also ashamed that European and American companies were involved in this.
What started as curiosity, soon turned into a real life political thriller.
The Ethiopian government was misusing this multi-billion dollar development aid program for their own agenda. And it was destroying lives.

Joachim Demmer

Why we selected this film

A distressing subject and poignant witness accounts for this beautifully directed documentary which highlights the scandal of land grabbing to which Ethiopia’s smallholders are falling prey.
One of the people in the film, a local journalist, shows us the role of whistleblowers and the commitment of some who risk their lives, willing to do anything to alert the public and denounce these human and environmental disasters.


- San Francisco Green Film Festival 2017 - Green Tenacity Award - Life After Oil 2017
- Best International Documentary Award - EINE-WELT-FILMPREIS NRW (2017)
- Innsbruck Nature Film Festival 2017 - Best Film on the topic of soil - Social Impact Media Awards 2018 - Jury Prize for Transparency
- HUMAN International Documentary Film Festival 2018 - Honourable Mention for Best Film


Ban all chemical fertilizers

Many chemical fertilizers contain heavy metals, such as lead, mercury or cadmium. When transmitted through the soil to vegetables, they contaminate the entire food chain. Avoid them at all costs!
Pesticides and insecticides contaminate soil and groundwater via rain runoff.
Their production also consumes large amounts of energy. As these products are dangerous even for the farmers that use them (who risk accidental inhalation or ingestion), their packaging becomes dangerous waste that requires costly and complicated disposal.
There are many natural alternatives.

Choose eco-friendly foods

(for example products carrying the “organic” label). The more organic farming gains in popularity and volume, the less greenhouse gases we’ll emit. For instance, pesticides, nitrogen based fertilizers and GMOs can’t be used.

To learn more:

Diminishing traditional resources

Traditional energy sources (oil, gas, uranium, carbon) are running out.
These sources aren't renewable, and their reserves are diminishing faster and faster: global consumption has increased by 75% in the past 30 years and doesn't show signs of slowing.
If we don't change our habits, we will surpass our planet's capacity for supplying traditional energy sources in the near future.

Eat local

Consuming locally produced food reduces the number of intermediaries, shortens highly polluting transportation and contributes greatly to reinforce the economic vitality of our regions.


To learn more:

1 Comment

SAME · Friday January 4th, 2019 at 02:01 PM


Je veux bien être membre du jury de l’édition 2019.



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