The art of Sudan is blossoming in Nairobi this April. As well as exhibitions around the capital, from April 12th to April 19th Unseen will be showcasing an incredible selection of Sudanese films in their screening room: seven feature films, a collection of shorts and live conversation with the directors. Although the festival is sold out on the website, Unseen have announced that they are adding extra tickets at the door. 

Goodbye Julia

The festival kicks off with Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia, the official Sudanese entry to the Oscars and winner of the Prix de la Liberté at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. This moving drama tells the story of two women who represent the complicated relationship and differences between northern and southern Sudanese communities.

Beats of the Antonov

We also have the opportunity to see Hajooj Kuka’s internationally acclaimed 2014 documentary film Beats of the Antonov, about the ongoing attacks of the Sudanese army on the people in the Nuba mountains.

Nearly 20 short films will be screened over the week, including award winners such as Journey to Kenya (Snoopy),  A Handful of Dates (Hassan Hashim) and The Dogs Shitter (Sadam Siddig).

Further full length features include Heroic Bodies directed by Sara Suliman. Spanning Sudanese social history from colonial times to the late 20th century, the film investigates how the female body was used as a means of resistance against the state, patriarchy and colonial oppression, through interviews with leading activists, artists and academics, plus rare archive footage,

Talking About Trees

Talking About Trees is a 2019 documentary film directed by Suhaib Gasmelbari. It follows the efforts of the Sudanese Film Group to reopen an outdoor movie theatre in the face of decades of Islamist censorship and inefficient bureaucracy.

The Dam

The Dam, says Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian (UK), isa drama teetering on the verge of a heatstroke hallucination”, as an exploited manual worker at the Merowe dam develops a strange supernatural life in parallel to the the buildup to Omar al-Bashir’s ousting.

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A Revolution from Afar and You Will Die at Twenty

A Revolution from Afar and You Will Die at Twenty round out the feature films. In the former, a documentary, Sudanese-American poets and musicians engage in performances and conversation around the revolution in Sudan, from which they have been physically cut off. The latter is a fable-like fiction: When a mystic predicts the untimely demise of a newborn when he reaches 20 years of age, the child’s family is shattered.

During the festival, there will also be live music to enjoy and a selection of artworks, curated by The Rest Residency, all at Unseen Nairobi’s rooftop cinema and terrace.