KHARTOUM (sudanow-magazine.net) – The Sudanese film industry has always been associated with the name of one of its outstanding founders, the late Jadallah Jubara.
Jubara has very early recognized the value of cinema and its great influence on the society, a matter that caused him to quit his job as army officer to work full-time as a filmmaker, producer, film director and cameraman until he died in 2008.
On why he turned to film-making, Jubara had told an interviewer that before his return from North Africa after World War 11, the cinema was never among his preoccupations or dreams.
He said, however, that as electronic engineer, the government recruited him in the then mobile cinema.”This has allowed me to travel wide throughout Sudan. During those tours I noticed the impact the cinema had on the public. The masses were very excited to see the films we put on display. This has encouraged me very much to give filmmaking a try,’’ he said.
The history book tells that Jubara was Sudan’s first filmmaker and the country’s first cameraman. He was also the first Sudanese to acquire a certificate as film director, awarded to him by the American University of South California.
He was also the first Sudanese to start filmmaking in a private studio he established on his own.
Jubara has produced hundreds of documentary, educational and drama films as well as a lot of commercials.
His films screened within the mobile cinema programs continue to loom in public memory. His determination to continue with this thorny career is a source of continuous wonder, an example of strong resolve.
The Sudanese generations are grateful for Jubara for recording the different aspects of the ordinary life of Sudanese in those old days. They are also grateful that Jubara had recorded the country’s major events and produced most of the state’s documentaries.
His first documentary (1954) was entitled “Forests of South Sudan’’. Among his documentaries was also the film marking the independence of the country celebrations when elected Prime Minister Ismael al-Azhari and opposition leader Mohammad Ahmad Mahjoub raised the flag of the independent Sudan on 1st of January 1956. Other documentaries like “the Jezira Scheme’’, “Gum Arabic’’, the visit of Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, films on malaria combat, tuberculosis and how to prevent it, as well as several social films reflecting Sudan’s diverse cultures and environments, should also not escape our memory. Those films had won Jubara wide popularity when they were put on display all around the country.
Jubara is also remembered as the first Sudanese to produce a color motion picture film when he produced the love story ‘’Tajouj’’, in 1980, which was screened in eleven film festivals and won several awards (see Kassala, A City Loved By All Sudanese).
Then in 2001 he produced the long drama Barakat al-Sheikh (the Sheikh’s blessing) in collaboration with Thiryab Information Company, owned by Mustafa Ibrahim, who wrote the story’s script.
His last film al-Bu’asa’a (the destitute) was produced in 2006. The film, that reflects the Sudan people’s struggle for freedom, had won the award of distinction from the Africa Film Academy in Nigeria and was put on display at the International Cinema Festival in Uganda in 2008.
Along with his role as filmmaker and throughout his long career in the cinema, Jubara had continued to advise and train young filmmakers and to take part in international film workshops and festivals.
His activity has transcended his home country Sudan when he, as part of his desire to promote the African filmmaking, co-founded the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers in Algiers, Algeria, in 1970.
He was also an active member in the East African Filmmakers Union. He was arbitration member in many cinema festivals, including the African Cinema Festival in Burkina Faso.
Jubara Had sadly died before he could see his dream of a well-established Sudanese cinema come true. He had always blamed the country’s post-independence governments, including the current government, for this failure because, he used to say, they could not appreciate the value of cinema and did not help it with necessary funding.
He had proposed the creation of a big cinema company, incorporating the different specializations to promote this important industry. As part of his dream of such a company, he wrote a book detailing all the necessary information, the natural potential and the beautiful sceneries of the country that can help with film production. He said such information should be distributed by Sudan’s embassies abroad in order to encourage foreign filmmakers to make their films in Sudan. In this respect he argued that the Hollywood producers were looking for alternative natural places everywhere to make their films, instead of the dull artificial decors.
Jubara had also vehemently called for the defunct State Cinema Corporation to be reinstated and to concentrate its effort on importing films and building suitable cinema theatres that respect the viewers. From the proceeds of this activity, Jubara proposed the establishment of a fund to boost Sudan’s film industry as did Burkina Faso when it set such a fund that enabled it to produce two films per annum.
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