The first ever comedy, and commercial film, representing the life of the Israeli Ethiopian community has been released. “Lady Titi” was created by writer and director Esti Almo Wexler and her Israeli husband and film producer, Elad Wexler. The comedy, written in Hebrew and Amharic, tells the story of an Ethiopian man who is an aspiring singer, and borrows money to make a music video. When he isn’t able to pay back his loan, he ends up hiding out as a woman and being hired to lead female empowerment workshops in the community center.
While the story is filled with humor, it touches on the dark points of Ethiopian life struggle to survive in Israel, which includes deep layers of poverty, discrimination and misogyny. However, the film has been a hopeful spark within the Ethiopian Israeli community as it sets the screen for elevating more pressing issues, from the thousands of Ethiopians who have recently protested against police violence, to the fact that Ethiopian women make less than 50% of the average worker in Israel.
Almo Wexler states that “a comedy is my way of saying all the things that are annoying to me about Israeli society. The racism, the attitudes toward women. It’s racism that’s institutional, that’s under the rug.”
The Wexlers have a few upcoming projects which will share more tales between Ethiopia and Israel. The pair has been married for ten years, has two children, and runs the Abayanesh Production company together.