By: Rogia al-Shafee
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – Sudan will be the guest of honor in the tenth edition of the Luxor African Film Festival, set to kick off in March 2021.
The organizers say naming Sudan as the edition’s guest of honor is by way of paying homage to what they call “breakouts” of Sudanese cinema like Amjad Abulela’s 'You Will Die at Twenty' and Sohaib Gasmelbari’s 'Talking About Trees'.
Both films have been widely acclaimed and selected at various international film festivals.
The organizers say the Sudanese cinema had witnessed “a big awakening in both quantity and quality in recent years,” thanks to “the effort of the new generation of young Sudanese filmmakers and their big showing in major cinema festivals.”
The festival, which will run next year from March 12th - 18th, will be screening five Sudanese films and will host a symposium centered on Sudanese cinema, with the participation of some of Sudan’s biggest movie producers.
In a statement on this occasion, cinema and theatre producer Abbadi Mahjoub told Sudanow he was sorry the Sudanese cinema was unable to keep up with its early strong beginnings.
“India has known the cinema industry in 1913, a year after Sudan. But today we find that India is one of the major film producers in terms of productivity and publicity. That is because they, from the very start, took the cinema as an industry and an important economic asset.
Sudan was second only to Egypt in the Arab and the African worlds cinema production. But it did not think of developing this cultural production.
We became “consumers and viewers” from the early start, whereby there was a spread in the construction of cinema theatres since 1935 that amounted to over 60 cinema houses around the country and became an important income source for their owners who never thought of turning this activity into an economic source for the state’s benefit, added Mahjoub.
In addition, the cinema could have played a big role in knowledge, culture and tourism, he said.
The previous regimes had simply viewed the cinema as a means of recreation, until when the defunct rule of Omar Albashir started to destroy it on the grounds that the cinema is “sinful,” said Mahjoub.
So this art was lost. But we are optimistic that our young revolution would turn the Sudan into a productive agricultural, industrial and cultural country, where the cinema has an important economic role as a cultural product the World needs. By that the World can see Sudan through the camera and the screen.
What the films “You Will Die At Twenty”, “Talking About the Trees” and “Khartoum Offside” have done on World cinema festivals and the awards they have collected had turned attention to this upcoming African cinema giant, Sudan, Abbadi said.
The tenth edition of the Luxor African Cinema Festival will see the screening of five films representing the progress of the Sudanese drama and documentary films.
The tenth edition will also pay tribute to the late Sudanese actor Alhadi Alsiddiq (1948-2020).
The Sudanese showing in the Luxor Festival is organized by the young independent Sudanese filmmakers with support from the ministries of Culture and tourism.
The 9th edition of the Luxor African Cinema Festival was held in the Southern Egyptian City of Luxor in March 2020 before all the country’s cinema theatres were to shut down because of the coronovirus pandemic.
Hailed as one of the most important Egyptian film festivals outside of the capital, the Luxor African Film Festival (LAFF) has garnered a name for itself as a cultural hub in Luxor over the past nine years.
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