GOODBYE JULIA wins Cinema for Humanity Award at El Gouna Festival, Kordofani and Abu Alala praise impactful win

24 December 2023:

Mohamed Kordofani's multiple-award-winning debut Sudanese drama feature GOODBYE JULIA and laureate of the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard Freedom Prize took home El Gouna Film Festival’s annual Cinema for Humanity Audience Award, bringing the film's tally of awards to 21 throughout its festival run, which kicked off last May.
 
The Cinema for Humanity Award— bestowed upon GOODBYE JULIA during the closing ceremony of the sixth edition of the El Gouna Film Festival (GFF)—marks the film's third recognition within a week, following Mohamed Kordofani's prestigious honor as Variety Magazine's MENA Talent of the Year at the festival.
 
In other news, GFF's annual Cinema for Humanity Audience Award highlights films that capture the spirit of humanitarian topics.
 
"I am grateful that GOODBYE JULIA has been awarded the El Gouna Film Festival's Cinema for Humanity Audience Award," said film director Mohamed Kordofani. "This recognition is a tribute to the film's creators, who are young individuals deeply connected to the December Revolution and its esteemed principles."
 
Kordofani pleaded for a united effort from everyone to stop the current violence as soon as possible, emphasizing that the Sudanese people, who are currently facing unthinkable difficulties, need assistance. 
 
"The Sudanese people do not deserve the terrible difficulties they are experiencing, and they have the resilience to rebuild their homeland once the damage stops, as I did with my film," Kordofani added. "In the name of humanity, I implore you not to overlook what is occurring in Sudan and Gaza, and instead join us in asking for freedom, peace, and justice."
 
On the other hand, Amjad Abu Alala, the producer of GOODBYE JULIA expressed his immense joy upon receiving the esteemed audience award at the renowned El Gouna Festival—a name that resonates with both the essence of humanity and the power of cinema. "In light of the challenging circumstances faced by Sudan, with its ongoing struggle against a relentless occupation that threatens the fabric of humanity, this recognition holds profound significance."
 
Abu Alala dedicated this prestigious award to the resilient individuals who have been displaced, as well as those who have remained steadfast in their homeland.
 
He extended his heartfelt appreciation to El Gouna Festival who believed in and supported the Sudanese cinema, embracing its creation born from the depths of sorrow, acknowledging the festival's current stance, holding the event amidst challenging circumstances and demonstrating solidarity with Palestine.
 
In doing so, Abu Alala emphasized the vital role that cinema and its festivals play as forums for expressing artistic viewpoints and achieving the intrinsic destiny of art.
 
In parallel to the film’s current stint in GFF, it is enjoying even greater success in France, where it recently debuted in 51 arthouse theaters and is currently enjoying its seventh weekend run on 67 screens nationwide.
 
GOODBYE JULIA was also released in the UAE last week, screening at 27 theatres, bringing its tally across the GCC — where it successfully held its commercial release three weeks ago in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain — to a whooping 84 theaters.
 
Since its historic commercial release in Egypt on October 25th, GOODBYE JULIA has recorded the highest revenues for an Arab film at the Egyptian box office, amassing over EGP 3m throughout its ninth-week journey.
 
The widely praised and acclaimed title also recently won an Audience Award at the Mostra De Cinema Arab, the top prize for Best Film at the 2023 Belfast Film Festival's International Competition, an Excellence and Best Actress Award at Canada's Muslim International Film Festival, as well as the Best Director and Best Leading Actress in a Debut Feature Film at the 18th Cyprus International Film Festival.
 
To further add to the film’s growing triumphs, Lupita Nyong'o — the Academy Award winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for 12 YEARS A SLAVE — who’s most known for her role as Nakia in Marvel’s BLACK PANTHER films, announced that she has joined the film’s team as the film’s executive producer in direct support of the film and its impactful story.
 
Topping it all off, Egyptian critic Mohamed Sayed Abdel Rahim — who is a member of the 2024 Golden Globe Awards’ Voting Committee — recently revealed that the film has been selected to compete for the Best Non-English Language Film Award ahead of the shortlist’s announcement in December.
 
GOODBYE JULIA — which is Sudan's official submission for Best Foreign Feature at the 2024 Academy Awards — 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.
 
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.
 
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.