Sudan Cinema Takes Inspiration From Revolution
Umer Jamshaid 1 month ago Sat 23rd January 2021 | 03:04 PM
Sudanese filmmakers who celebrated the end of stifling restrictions following the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir have won multiple international awards but are yet to enjoy the same recognition at home
Cairo, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23rd Jan, 2021 ) :Sudanese filmmakers who celebrated the end of stifling restrictions following the ouster of autocrat Omar al-Bashir have won multiple international awards but are yet to enjoy the same recognition at home.
Cinema languished in the North African country through three decades of authoritarian rule by Bashir.
"We started realising how much our society needs our dreams," said director Amjad Abou Alala.
His 2019 film "You Will Die at Twenty" was both Sudan's first Oscar entry and the first Sudanese film broadcast on Netflix, winning prizes at international film festivals including Italy's Venice and Egypt's El Gouna.
As Sudan undergoes a precarious political transition, the country's filmmakers have found more space to operate, Alala said.
Young filmmakers act "without the complexes, the lack of self-confidence or the frustration that we suffered in previous generations", he added.
The filmmaker attended a 2008 short film festival in Munich, where the winning film -- an Iraqi documentary shot on a handy-cam -- inspired him to return home and set up a training centre and production house.
In the past decades, the Film Factory has organised some 30 screenwriting, directing and editing workshops -- and produced more than 60 short films, honoured in international festivals from Brazil to Japan.
Today, cinemas are allowed -- big budget Hollywood films, as well as Indian and Egyptian movies are popular -- but moves to reopen them have been frustrated by restrictions to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Sudanese National Museum organised screenings of films, including "You Will Die at Twenty", but they were not screened in large theatres.
Filmmakers still face challenges. Hajooj Kuka, director of the acclaimed 2014 "Beats of the Antonov" was jailed for two months last year for causing a "public nuisance" -- for what he said was an acting workshop.
Other Sudanese films have also garnered international attention, including the 2019 documentary "Talking About Trees" by Suhaib Gasmelbari, which tells the story of four elderly Sudanese filmmakers with a passion for movies.
- 'Leap into the void' - Another film, director Marwa Zein's award-winning 2019 documentary "Khartoum Offside", tackles sexism in the conservative country through the story of young female footballers determined to play professionally.
"We are children of the diaspora, which is why our analysis of the affairs of the Sudanese is critical," said Dubai-based Alala.
But if international recognition is seen as a sign of success, Alala fears the new boom in Sudanese cinema will amount to a "leap into the void" because it has not benefited from "any official support or suitable infrastructure".
He understands that this is in part due to the many challenges facing Sudan, as it struggles with a dire economic crisis and seeks to implement a recent peace deal with rebels to end decades of civil war.
While Alala says government support is necessary for the film industry to flourish, he admits that it "would be unfair to ask the new government to shoulder this burden when the economy is devastated".