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Know Your Place film image, director Zia Mohajerjasbi

Canadian Premiere

When his mother receives a late-night plea for help, Robel (Joseph Smith), an Eritrean-American teenager, must transport a suitcase of cash and medicine to a family friend in desperate need. Accompanied by Fahmi (Natnael Mebrahtu), his Ethiopian-American best friend, Robel sees their trek through south Seattle grow increasingly labyrinthine. As they pass abandoned houses and encounter cab drivers, shopkeepers, and other members of the working class, they grow aware of how their rapidly gentrifying, constantly redeveloping city is slowly forcing out people of colour such as themselves. As Robel and Fahmi race against the clock to complete their errand, they must likewise consider that the only way of life they’ve ever known may now be on borrowed time.

Zia Mohajerjasbi’s Emerald City odyssey is clear-eyed and tender in turns. As he investigates themes of personal identity, family responsibility, and community, he does so through nuanced interactions rather than didactic proclamations. Employing Nicholas Wiesnet’s cinematography to tremendous effect, Mohajerjasbi ensures that his striking depiction of Seattle reflects issues running rampant in countless other North American cities.

Best Film, Seattle 2022


 Q&A Oct 4 & Oct 5


Presented by


Joseph Smith, Natnael Mebrahtu, Selamawit Gebresus, Esther Kibreab, Haileselassie Kidane

Country of Origin





In English and Tigrinya with English subtitles

Film Contact
118 min
Award Winners Drama

Book Tickets

Wednesday October 05

3:15 pm
The Cinematheque
Book Now

More Films in this Series

Know Your Place

Award Winners Drama

Running an important errand across south Seattle, two teenagers become aware that their rapidly gentrifying city is slowly forcing out people of colour like themselves. An Emerald City odyssey that investigates identity, responsibility, and community.

The Cinematheque

Other Cannibals


Fausto and Ivan are making important preparations. Both are careful to maintain boundaries and honour their side of the arrangement. Except they keep postponing the main event. That’s understandable, as it involves taking a human life.

The Cinematheque

The Locust

Comedy Drama Women Directors

With her semi-autobiographical screenplay finally going into production, Hanieh must now contend with the nonplussed cast's cutting remarks. This filmmaker's tragicomic living hell is fueled by anarchic energy, palpable anxiety, and biting humour.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre International Village 8
Harvest Moon
Harvest Moon film image, director Amarsaikhan Baljinnyam

Harvest Moon

Comedy Drama

A delightfully tender drama following a man returning to his native village to tie up loose family ends, where he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a 10-year-old orphan boy determined to claim his place in the vast Mongolian grasslands.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre The Cinematheque


Award Winners Women Directors

A young woman shows up in a remote Slovakian mountain village looking for answers about her tragic family past, but her arrival sparks vicious rumours, resurrecting old superstitions that reveal a troubled family history.

The Rio Theatre
The Uncle
The Uncle film image, co-directors David Kapac and Andrija Mardešić

The Uncle

In the 1980s Balkan countryside, a family prepares for the arrival of their uncle, who will inspect every detail of the Christmas presentation. They eat turkey, sing, watch family videos, and open presents. But something is amiss.

VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre International Village 8


Executive Producer

Zia Mohajerjasbi, Josh Peters, Harry Calbom, Samira Gagné Ludwin, Adam Ludwin


Ty Walker, Zia Mohajerjasbi


Zia Mohajerjasbi


Marty Martin, Zia Mohajerjasbi

Production Design

Karleigh Engelbrecht

Original Music

Richard Skelton

Art Director

Michelle Patterson


Zia Mohajerjasbi headshot, Know Your Place director

Zia Mohajerjasbi

Zia Mohajerjasbi is an Iranian-American filmmaker hailing from Seattle, a city that has served as the primary focus of his work. In 2015, he wrote and directed the award-winning narrative short film, Hagereseb, and is the cinematographer and director of an ongoing storytelling series, The Charcoal Sky. Know Your Place, which Mohajerjasbi wrote and directed, is his debut feature film.