The Essien Children

Esther, Emanuel, and Michal were torn away from their Israeli existence to Nigerian reality. After four years they have not succeeded to integrate and are trying to find their way back home to Israel.

Synopsis // The Essien children were born in Israel to migrant parents from Nigeria. In a moment of despair their mother left with them to Nigeria. Four years have passed, and they still feel detached, unable to continue their studies, living for a time on the streets. For the last 3 years they are trying every way possible to return to Israel and continue on their life path. Despite the fact that even in Israel they didn’t always feel that they belonged, their existence is Israeli, as they celebrate Jewish holidays and attend synagogue services for Nigerian Jews in Abuja. The film focuses on Esther’s feeling of alienation and just how much the Israeli experience is a part of the family’s lives, language, culture, and dreams. Esther recently celebrated her eighteenth birthday and might be able to return to Israel on her own.


Filmmakers’ bios // Yakie Ayalon (director, producer) is an Israeli Film Director, Born in Jerusalem in 1978. He was raised in Nigeria, and returns to Africa frequently for various film projects. Social values and human issues have a significant part in his Films and work. He directed Award Wining Documentaries and Short Fiction films which were screened at prestigious Film Festivals around the world, and broadcast on Israeli and international television. He studied at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and received a B.Des Degree in Visual Communications. He did his Master’s Degree at the Tel Aviv University Film Department and graduated with an Excellence Diploma. He is currently based in Jerusalem.

Ran Mendelson (cinematography) is a documentary Filmmaker, Cinematographer and ‘Behind The Scenes’ Director. He has vast experience working as a unit stills photographer, and is a lecturer in “Cinematography and Lighting” at the Film & Television Department at the Tel Aviv University. Ran was the director and cinematographer of ׳The Hurricane Hunter׳ and ׳I’m Here׳The latter won an award for Best Cinematography at the Doc-Challenge competition in 2014.

Ran holds a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), graduating magna cum laude from the Film & Television Department at the Tel Aviv University. He received his Bachelor of Design (B.Design) at the Department of Visual Communication, Bezalel Academy of Arts & Design


OOP vision // “The film will touch upon the moral dilemmas, which the Essian family faces, and what sacrifices they must make. These dilemmas may belong to them, but they also touch the stories of many migrant families around the world. While I hope the film will help them return to Israel, I believe that whoever sees the film will be able to identify with the “other” that he generally does not encounter in his daily life”.