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Sunday, June 16
1:45 PM - 3:20 PM

US Navy Memorial, Burke Theater

701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20004

Made in Ethiopia


Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan

Executive Producers

Anna Godas, Oli Harbottle, Susan Jakes, Mehret Mandefro, Roger Graef


Tamara Dawit, Xinyan Yu, Max Duncan


Biel Andrés, Jeppe Bødskov, Siyi Chen


Max Duncan

When a massive Chinese industrial park lands in rural Ethiopia, a dusty farming town finds itself at the new frontier of globalization. The sprawling factory complex’s formidable Chinese director, Motto, now needs every bit of mettle and charm she can muster to push through a high-stakes expansion that promises 30,000 new jobs. Ethiopian farmer Workinesh and factory worker Beti have staked their futures on the prosperity the park promises. But as initial hope meets painful realities, they find themselves, like their country, at a pivotal crossroads.

Filmed over four years with singular access, Made in Ethiopia lifts the curtain on China’s historic but misunderstood impact on Africa, and explores contemporary Ethiopia at a moment of profound crisis. The film throws audiences into two colliding worlds: an industrial juggernaut fueled by profit and progress, and a vanishing countryside where life is still measured by the cycle of the seasons. And its nuance, complexity, and multi-perspective approach go beyond black-and-white narratives of victims and villains. As the three women’s stories unfold, Made in Ethiopia challenges us to rethink the relationship between tradition and modernity, growth and welfare, a country’s development, and its people’s well-being.

Co-director, Made in Ethiopia

Xinyan Yu is a Chinese journalist and filmmaker based in Washington, DC. Having grown up in Wuhan, an industrial city in central China, she worked as a video journalist at top-tier international newsrooms in Asia and the US for nearly a decade. She is the producer of two half-hour BBC documentaries — China’s Science Revolution (2016) and China’s New Silk Road (2017) — and the episodic director of the Channel News Asia documentary series A Billion Chinese Dream (2019). She has managed international crews in a wide array of major breaking news events, including the Rohingya refugee crisis and the Hong Kong protests. She produced, shot, and edited two short films for the South China Morning Post – Fighting Fentanyl: The Drug From China Destroying American Lives (2019) and What Happened To Our Parents? Uygur Sisters Seek Answers (2019). Made in Ethiopia is Xinyan’s feature documentary debut.

Co-director, Made in Ethiopia

Max Duncan is a British filmmaker, journalist, and cinematographer with over a decade of experience working internationally. His work has been shown on platforms including the BBC, Al Jazeera, the Guardian, and the New York Times and exhibited at galleries including Tate Modern and NY Guggenheim. Now based in Madrid, he has lived in China for a decade and speaks fluent Mandarin. His short films tell urgent social issues and global trends through intimate portraits. His Pulitzer-supported, Down from the Mountains (2018), profiled a family pulled apart by labor migration in rural China and won a World Press Photo award. His other short films have received recognition including Webby, One WorldMedia Awards, and a Vimeo Staff Pick. Made in Ethiopia is his first feature project.