04 October 2021:
Sudanese short film Al-Sit, directed by Suzannah Mirghani, has raised its tally of international awards to 23, to top the 2021 list of best short Arab films. Previously receiving 3 awards from Oscar-qualifying festivals, Al-Sit is now one of the most notable nominees for the Academy Awards. The film received its latest award only two days ago, at The Quibdó Africa Film Festival where it was announced the Best Short film of the SUDU Prize.
The film’s director Suzannah Mirghani expressed her sincere thanks to The Quibdó Africa Film Festival, through a video posted via the festival’s official Facebook page, saying, “We made this film with a 99% Sudanese cast and crew (and 1% Lebanese). In fact, filmmaking in Sudan is finally beginning to flourish after decades of prohibition and neglect. Sudan is overflowing with talent, but there is little opportunity to show it. We hope the film will continue its successful tour across the international festivals.”
In a cotton-plantation in Sudan, 15-year-old Nafisa has a crush on Babiker, but her parents have arranged her marriage to Nadir, a young Sudanese businessman who lives abroad. However, Nafisa’s grandmother Al-Sit, the powerful village matriarch, has her own plans for Nafisa’s future. Will Nafisa be able to choose for herself?
The film presents a sentimental story that revolves around Sudanese women, the powerful and the vulnerable while shedding the light on both ends of the social chain as well as the changes imposed by modernity on Sudanese Society.
Previously, the film and its director Suzannah Mirghani received numerous significant awards, including Best Director at Beirut International Women Film Festival, Best Short Film and Chairman's award at Zanzibar International Film Festival, Best short film at Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts where the judge panel voted unanimously to give the award, as well as Audience Choice Award, and the Jury Award for Most Promising Filmmaker for the film’s director at Toronto Arab Film Festival. Moreover, the film snatched the Grand Prix at the 51st edition of the Oscar-qualifying Tampere Film Festival; two awards at Malmo Arab Film Festival, Sweden; Best Script award and Special Mention at Huesca International Film Festival, Spain; Special Jury award at Busan International Short Film Festival, Korea, and the Award for Excellence in Arab Filmmaking at The European Independent Film Festival, France.
Furthermore, it nabbed the Canal+/Cine+ Award, which was presented by the French channel Canal Plus Cinema within the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, where the film landed its international premiere, and it had its world premiere at the latest edition of the Ajyal Film Festival in Qatar.
Al-Sit is written and directed by Suzannah Mirghani, who co-produced it along with Eiman Mirghani, and stars Mihad Murtada, Rabeha Mohammed, Mohammed Magdi and Haram Basher. The film is distributed in the Arab world by MAD Solutions and has previously received a development workshop and a production grant from Doha Film Institute, as well as a design grant from VCUarts Qatar.
Suzannah Mirghani is a writer, researcher, and a passionate independent filmmaker with a special interest in highlighting stories from the Arab world. She is a Media Studies and Museum Studies graduate, and the author and editor of several academic books and articles. Being of multicultural (Sudanese and Russian) backgrounds, Suzannah is interested in stories that examine the complexity of identity. She has under her belt a number of short films that she wrote, directed and produced, including Hind’s Dream (2014), Caravan (2016), and Al-Sit (2020).