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Sun, 08 Dec 2019 14:02 GMT

Hopes to Revive Sudanese Cinema after Ousting of Bashir

Media & Culture

7Dnews London

Tue, 03 Dec 2019 11:03 GMT

There is new hope for the revival of Sudanese cinema after the downfall of longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir who delivered the industry a severe retrograde blow through decades of authoritarian rule.

Speaking to AFP, Talal Afifi, who worked for years to breathe life into the cinema industry in his country, said that Bashir's three decades of extremist-backed rule had seen cinemas cease operating in a country once known as a pioneer for filmmaking in Africa. 

After attending a 2008 short film festival in Munich, where the winning film was an Iraqi documentary shot on a hand-held camera, Afifi decided to return home and set up a Sudan Film Factory, training centre, and production house to develop all aspects of filmmaking. 

"I wanted to remind people that there is a place called Sudan, which was once renowned in the field of cinema, and that it still has its heart beating for this art," he told AFP. 

Sudanese cinema dates back to the shooting of the first silent film in 1898, a few years after the invention of moving images, according to veteran director Ibrahim Shaddad. 

By the 1980s, Sudan had over 60 cinemas showing Hollywood, Bollywood and Arabic movies. 

Bashir's seizing of power following an extremist-backed coup in 1989 led to the neglect of the industry. 

By 1996, his conservative regime had shut down most of the country's cinemas. 

The former president’s autocratic rule came to an end last April when he was deposed by the army following months of nationwide protests. 

His overthrow has given film enthusiasts fresh hope of reviving Sudanese filmmaking. 

"Now we are talking of restoring cinemas, changing laws and establishing cinematography institutes," said Afifi. 

Middle East