23 October 2023:
Mohamed Kordofani’s debut Sudanese drama feature GOODBYE JULIA and laureate of the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard Freedom Prize just added another notch on its belt, recently winning the Roger Ebert Award at the 59th Chicago International Film Festival, which was held in Chicago, US from October 11th to the 22nd.
In a statement released by the festival, the jury lauded the film for its execution, praising Mohamed Kordofani for exploring “the shared humanity present in those who seem to have a little in common.”
The widely praised and acclaimed title — which has been selected to be Sudan's official submission for Best Foreign Feature at the 2024 Academy Awards — is also expected to be released in Egyptian theaters on October 25th.
The film also recently won Best African Film at the Septimius Awards, where it was also in the running for Best African Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Soundtrack.
Additionally, it was screened at the BFI London Film Festival, which kicked off on October 4th and is running till the 15th.
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 after its historic world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Freedom Prize.
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.
Performing admirably in the cinematic zeitgeist, the film garnered rave reviews after its premiere at Cannes, 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.
Previously, GOODBYE JULIA won MAD Solutions’ Grant Award at the CineGouna SpringBoard that was held at the fourth El Gouna Film Festival, 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).
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.