Mohamed Kordofani’s debut Sudanese drama feature GOODBYE JULIA and laureate of the Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard Freedom Prize is set to premiere in the Arab world as part of the sixth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival (GFF), which is scheduled to run from October 13th to the 20th.
After initially starting out as a project on the festival’s CineGouna SpringBoard — where it won MAD Solutions’ Distribution Grant Award, Best Film Project in the Development Phase ($15,000), a certificate from the El Gouna Cinema Platform, a Mentorship Prize from the IEFTA, and the New Century Prize ($10,000) — the highly successful feature is now set to compete in the festival’s very own Feature Film Competition.
The film is also eligible to receive the GFF’s Cinema for Humanity Audience Award — an annual award comprised of a trophy, a certificate, and a $20,000 cash prize given to films with humanitarian themes.
GOODBYE JULIA follows the story of Mona — a northern Sudanese retired singer in a tense marriage — who is wracked by guilt after covering up a murder. In an attempt to make amends, she takes in the deceased’s Southern Sudanese widow, Julia, and her son, Daniel, into her home.
Unable to confess her transgressions to Julia, Mona decides to leave the past behind and adjust to a new status quo, unaware that the country’s turmoil may find its way into her home and put her face to face with her sins.
Recently, it was announced that GOODBYE JULIA is set to be featured at the highly anticipated BFI London Film Festival — a spectacular event that will unfold from the 4th to the 15th of October.
It will also be featuring in the Septimius Awards — which will be running from September 25th to the 26th — where it will be competing in numerous categories, including Best African Actress (which both Eiman Yousif and Siran Riak, the film’s lead actresses, are in the running for), Best African Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Soundtrack.
Before that, GOODBYE JULIA was featured at the Horizons Section of the 2023 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and enjoyed widespread popularity and packed screenings.
The film caught the attention of film critics and garnered rave reviews since its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, with Screen Daily praising the film saying: “Kordofani proves that it is possible to bear witness to history in a place rarely depicted on screen,” while Hollywood Reporter described the film as “an operatic drama that nimbly tackles the story of a fractured Sudan.”
GOODBYE JULIA stars Eiman Yousif, Siran Riak — the former Ms. South Sudan — Nazar Goma, and Ger Duany; is written and directed by Kordofani; and produced by Station Films’ acclaimed Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala — the director of Sudan’s first-ever submission to the Academy Awards YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY — in collaboration with producer Mohamed Al-Omda, who co-produced Yemen’s Berlin International Film Festival selection THE BURDENED.
A true example of Arab-European collaboration, the film is also co-produced by Baho Bakhsh and Safei Eldin Mahmoud (Red Star Films), Michael Henrichs (Die Gesellschaft), Khaled Awad and Mohamed Kordofani (Klozium Studios), Marc Irmer (Dolce Vita), Faisal Baltyuor (Cinewaves Films), Ali El-Arabi (Ambient Light), Adham El-Sherif (CULT), and Issraa Elkogali Häggström (RiverFlower). Additionally, MAD Solutions is handling the film’s worldwide sales.
It also won the Malmö Arab Film Festival’s award for Best Project In Development and received financial support from Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Fund, the Paris Region, ARRI, and Film und Medienstiftung NRW.
Kordofani is a Sudanese filmmaker whose short film NYERKUK won the Black Elephant Award for Best Sudanese Film, NAAS Award for Best Arab Film at the Carthage Film Festival, Jury Award at the Oran International Arab Film Festival, and Arnone-Belavite Pellegrini Award at the FCAAA in Milan.
His second short KEJERS PRISON was screened during the Sudanese revolution at the sit-in square in front of thousands of protesters, and his documentary A TOUR IN LOVE REPUBLIC was the first pro-revolution film to be broadcast on Sudan’s national TV.
His last film was THIS IS SUDAN, which was commissioned by Sudan’s former prime minister Abdallah Hamdok to promote Sudan’s potential for investment.