Experiencing Interruptions?

Staying Put

While his friends are dreaming of a modern and better life in Europe, Abebe travels through ancient Ethiopia, trying to find crucial answers and a way towards a meaningful life. In an observational style, we follow the young Abebe in his personal quest.

The future is uncertain, his journey erratic. The centuries-old scenery of impressive landscapes, monasteries and rock-hewn churches is undisturbed. The reality of daily life (the threat of war, famine, the fun they have together) and Abebe’s magical dreams merge into each other.

Filmmaker Nico Bunnik shot and developed this film over a period of 5 years together with Abebe and his friends, Abush and Wogen. Close to the bone, from Abebe's perspective we follow him in his thoughts and quest.

On August the 6th 2021, Lalibela (his home town) is attacked and taken by the rebels from Tigray. Almost all the young men flee from the city. Abush and Wogen now live in the UK as illegal refugees. Abebe chooses to stay put.

"The film clarifies and humanises the subject of poverty, drought, future prospects and migration in a penetrating way that really appeals to the imagination.", "A diamond in the rough", "not pre-cooked and free from moralizing intentions", "deeply touched", "this purity is special", "very special film, it is still happening always so little that we hear about life in Africa, this time Ethiopia, from Africans themselves."

  • Nico Bunnik
  • Nico Bunnik
  • Abebe Efrem Walle
    Key Cast
  • Wogen Tsegaye Endeshaw
    Key Cast
  • Zekarias Biset Kassie
    Key Cast
  • Marion van der Gun
  • Nico Bunnik
  • Nico Bunnik
  • Nico Bunnik
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    mix documentary/fiction, Ethnographic, poetic
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 59 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Amharic, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • DokuBaku IDFF
    September 30, 2023
    world premier
    official selection
Director Biography - Nico Bunnik

Started as artist/filmmaker at the Cine Workshop, Vrije Academie in the Hague, Netherlands. Directed different 16mm shorts, works as director, DOP, producer, editor and sound designer.

He directed ‘Atla’ (2005) a full-length documentary, set in the Sinai desert. Atla has been screened at many film festivals:
a.o. ÉCU, Split film festival
‘They keep going further, as meaningless as it is irrevocable. This is not Waiting for Godot, but Going to Godot’, written in Dutch newspaper NRC by Dana Linssen.

He directed Stayingput (2023), a full length documentary with fiction elements. Shot in the North of Ethiopia. www.stayingput.nl

He directed The Fragmented Whole a feature fiction movie (2023). A collaboration between film director Nico Bunnik and artist, writer and Qigong master Suning Rui. www.thefragmentedwhole.com

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