Sudan submits “Goodbye Julia” for 96th Academy Awards
Sudan has officially submitted Mohamed Kordofani’s critically acclaimed film, Goodbye Julia, for consideration in the Best International Feature Film category at the 96th Academy Awards.
This move marks a significant milestone for Sudanese cinema, as Goodbye Julia became the first Sudanese film to grace the prestigious Cannes Film Festival earlier this year when it was selected for the Un Certain Regard category.
The film’s premiere occurred amid a backdrop of turmoil in Khartoum, as clashes between rival generals resulted in the tragic loss of 5,000 lives and the displacement of seven million people. Despite these challenges, Goodbye Julia has continued its international journey, screening at events such as the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in its Horizons section and preparing for its Middle East and North Africa (MENA) premiere at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival in October. The film is set for a theatrical release in Egypt on October 25 and has also earned a spot in the BFI London Film Festival.
The decision to submit Goodbye Julia for Oscar consideration was made by the Sudanese National Committee, which operates in exile. Alaa Karkouti at MAD Solutions, the company handling world sales for the film, confirmed that the film meets the eligibility criteria set by AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences). Notably, the film’s qualification for consideration was facilitated by its status as a co-production with Egypt.
Director Mohamed Kordofani expressed his gratitude for the committee’s decision, highlighting the resilience and hope of the Sudanese people in the face of adversity. He hopes that the film’s visibility will not only resonate with Oscar voters but also shed light on a different facet of Sudan.
Kordofani belongs to a new wave of filmmakers who emerged in the aftermath of Sudan’s 2019 revolution, which ended the 30-year rule of dictator Omar al-Bashir. However, efforts to establish a civil democracy have faced setbacks, including a military coup in October 2021 by General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhani, sparking a power struggle with General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.
Goodbye Julia is set against a backdrop of historical turmoil in Sudan, focusing on the lead-up to the 2011 South Sudan Independence referendum. The film explores the deep-seated divisions in the country through the story of a singer from the north (Eiman Yousif) attempting to make amends for her role in a crime against a man from the south, all while concealing her connection to the crime.
The film boasts a diverse cast, with Dubai-based South Sudan-born top model Siran Riak making her debut as the widow of the victim. US-Sudanese actor and refugee advocate Ger Duany also features in a supporting role.
Goodbye Julia is currently competing at the Septimius Awards, vying for several honours including Best African Actress, Best African Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Soundtrack.
Produced by Amjad Abu Alala at Station Films, in collaboration with Mohamed Al-Omda, Goodbye Julia has already made an impact in the industry, garnering support and recognition from various sources, including grants and awards at film festivals.
Despite the ongoing challenges faced by Sudan, the submission of Goodbye Julia for the Academy Awards serves as a testament to the resilience of the Sudanese film industry and its determination to showcase its talent on the global stage.