Sudan Cinema Flickers Back To Life After Bashir Ouster

Sudan cinema flickers back to life after Bashir ouster

Khartoum, Dec 3 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 3rd Dec, 2019 ) :Talal Afifi has worked for years to revive Sudanese cinema which has languished through decades of authoritarian rule. With the fall of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir, he sees new hope.

Bashir's Islamist-backed rule of 30 years had seen cinemas shuttered and US sanctions prevent imports of vital equipment in a country once known as a pioneer for film-making in Africa.

When Afifi attended a 2008 short film festival in Munich, the winning film -- an Iraqi documentary shot on a handycam -- inspired him to return home and set up a training centre and production house.

"I wanted to remind people that there is a place called Sudan, which was once renowned in the field of cinema, and that it still has its heart beating for this art," he told AFP.

The Sudan Film Factory, based in a suburban Khartoum villa, has since trained more than 300 young men and women in various aspects of film-making.

Today, following Bashir's ouster in April, 42-year-old Afifi and his colleagues are hoping film-making will get a fresh boost in the northeast African country.

Sudanese cinema dates back to the shooting of the first silent film in 1898, a few years after the invention of moving images, according to veteran director Ibrahim Shaddad.

By 1946, a fleet of mobile cinemas were travelling across the country showing films under the evening sky.

"There were no closed cinema halls at that time because of extreme heat and lack of air conditioners," said Shaddad.

Legendary film-maker Jadallah Jubara, who recorded such key moments as Sudan's 1956 independence, later made his mark across the continent.

By the 1980s, Sudan had more than 60 cinemas screening Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic movies.

But Bashir's seizing of power on the back of an Islamist-back coup in 1989 delivered the industry a powerful blow.

"There were five or six different government agencies that had the power to monitor us. That was nerve-wracking," said Afifi.

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