Mo Harawe
Somalia - Austria - Germany - France


In this portrait of a family living in a village somewhere in the Somali desert, Mamargade, a single father, makes a living by taking on numerous jobs. He is the central figure, leading us through the world this film explores. Mamargade’s sister Araweelo, who sought refuge with him after an unruly marital dispute, lives with him. His son in the midst of all this, Cigaal, has potential that is ignored due to the situation we see evolving around him. All this is seen from the intimate, fragile perspective of this newly assembled family, an environment in which brother and sister trust each other but would not have chosen to live together if circumstances had dictated otherwise. This family’s daily life is inseparable from the socio-political situation of a country living with political unrest, natural disasters, and the legacy of colonialism.

1st feature
Director of photography

Mostafa El Kashef


Joana Scrinzi

Main Cast

Axmed Cali Faarax, Canab Axmed Ibraahin, Cigaal Maxamuud Saleebaan, Maxamed Xaaji Cabdi Faarax


FreibeuterFilm GmbH (Austria)
Sabine Moser, Oliver Neumann 


Maanmaal ACC (Somalia)
Mo Harawe

NikoFilm (Germany)
Nicole Gerhards

Kazak Production (France)
Jean Christophe Reymond 

Director’s statement

In our day, Somalia is primarily known as a failed state, and perhaps for having pirates on its coast. It is a country that is rarely mentioned internationally in any political context, and is not represented in cinema. I came to feel that cinema provides a platform to talk about Somalia, its unknown problems, and its universal realities. Furthermore, I am motivated to participate in the growing but still very small film infrastructure present there. The short films I have made addressed selected problems in Somalia but, with The Village Next to Paradise, I want to create a story that tries to understand this nation as a whole, in all its complexity, from the perspective of an average family in a village and their links to the problems the country faces, both internal and external – and all this from some distance, in a kind of undramatic, pragmatic tone.


Mo Harawe
Mo Harawe

Mo Harawe was born in Mogadishu. He studied visual communication and film. He has made several short films, which have been screened at and won awards from international film festivals. He is currently in post-production with his first feature-length film, The Village Next to Paradise.

Sabine Moser, Oliver Neumann
Sabine Moser, Oliver Neumann

FreibeuterFilm was founded in Vienna in 2008 to offer a platform for innovative, director-driven projects. It has produced a variety of European and international co-productions of fiction films and creative documentaries, and focuses on release in cinemas. The company has a multi-award-winning list of titles, encompassing more than 20 feature-length fiction and documentary films that have had their premieres at prestigious events including the Festival de Cannes and the Berlin, Karlovy Vary, San Sebastián and Venice International Film Festivals. Freibeuter’s most recent productions are Sebastian Meise’s Great Freedom (2021) and Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Hinterland (2021).

Total budget

€1 952 690

Financing secured

€1 952 690

Partners attached

Austrian Film Institute, Film Fund Vienna, ORF, ZDF/Arte, Cinémas du monde, Ile de France, World Cinema Fund

Shooting period and locations

June—September 2023, Garowe and Eyl (Somalia)

Expected delivery

April 2024

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