“Studio Gad” is a collaborative project by Nadja Korinth, Katharina von Schroeder, Sara Gubara and the Entuziazm association about the private film archive of Sudanese filmmaker Gadalla Gubara, who died in 2008. The project is named after the studio founded by him in 1974 as the first film studio in Sudan – Studio Gad.
Gadalla Gubara was one of the first directors to start working in the Sudan of the time, now North Sudan, and was productive for longest. Since the 1950s to his death in 2008, he shot feature films, news reports, educational and family films. They form a large part of the Sudan’s cinematographical legacy.
After his death, the film rolls were stored privately and threatened with decay. Nadja Korinth and Katharina von Schroeder met and interviewed Gadalla Gubara in Khartoum in 2007. Since his death in 2008, they have been working with his daughter Sara Gubara to preserve the archive. As part of the “The Film Holdings of Gadalla Gubara“ project, a large part of the archival holdings was able to be digitized in 2013.
The Studio Gad’s focus and goals include:
bringing Gubara’s archive to light once again and raising public awareness of it.
placing the films in a lively contemporary context.
initiating a German-Sudanese exchange which entails the participants working together to carry out research, restore films and make them publicly accessible at events in Khartoum and Berlin.
In the long term, the project seeks to incorporate Sudan’s film history, which is totally unknown in Germany, into the general curatorial engagement with archives and encourage new levels of discourse and narrations to be brought to the picture of Sudan which was been obscured by the decade-spanning civil war.
Nadja Korinth and Katharina von Schroeder have already worked on documenting today’s Sudan and took an interest early on in the efforts to preserve the Gubara archive. In close collaboration with Sara Gubara, they will develop a film program and an exhibition from the archive which will premiere in Khartoum before being shown in Berlin in May 2015 as part of the Visionary Archive closing event. In parallel to this, the Berlin association for film communication Entuziazm will be developing contemporary positions on Gubara’s films with a group of young Sudanese filmmakers from the Sudanese Film Factory in a series of discussions and film screenings.
LES MISÉRABLES is Gubara’s final film, which he shot at the age of 87 after having gone blind several years before, drawing on the help of his daughter, director and animation specialist Sara Gubara, to complete it. It is the last film from Sudan to be shot on 35mm to this day.
LES MISÉRABLES is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The changes undertaken by the film to fit it to the Sudanese present do not just affect its narrative twists and turns but also make explicit reference to Gubara’s political experiences. The prison scene was thus shot in the prison in which Gubara himself had been incarcerated only a few years before after he refused allow the government to get its hands on his studio. And the novel’s highpoint, the revolution, was already cut out of the adaptation before it was even shot so as to avoid the censors.
The project seeks to carry out detailed research on the context surrounding the production and completion of Gubara’s LES MISÉRABLES.
The documentary film KHARTOUM (Sudan 1960) is also of central importance when exploring Gadalla Gabara’s cinematic oeuvre. Based on the genre of the city symphony, the films contrasts footage of folkloristic dances and historical buildings with the "swinging" Khartoum of the sixties, where women wore mini-skirts, men and women danced to jazz music in nightclubs and American cars drove along the newly built boulevards. The soundtrack is by Hassan Attia, whose pieces mix together folklore with modern and jazz elements.
Today, Khartoum is a city that follows Islamic rules of clothing and conduct. One part of the Studio Gad project is to hold a workshop focusing on this film. Young Sudanese filmmakers, most of whom have never seen Gubara’s work, will be able to formulate their cinematic responses to Gubara’s KHARTOUM 1960 within the workshops.
The contrast between the film from 1960 and the films shot as a response to it today are supposed to create a space in which questions of experienced reality as opposed to representative needs can be articulated, where the interaction between traditional values and the consequences of globalization can be rethought in local terms.
The workshop takes place in collaboration with Stefan Pethke (ENTUZIAZM. Freunde der Vermittlung von Film und Text e.V.) and with the support of the Sudan Film Factory, an initiative by the Goethe-Institut in Khartoum dedicated to providing technical support to film projects by local filmmakers.
Sara Gadalla Gubara lives and works in Khartoum. She has directed feature films, documentaries and animated films. She is a long distance swimmer, and has participated in local and international competitions. In addition, she advises NGOs on questions of gender and equal opportunities. Sara Gubara is a graduate of the Academy of Arts in Cairo. Her films have been presented at festivals in South Africa, Zanzibar, and Uganda.
Nadja Korinth worked as a journalist and producer for BBC News in London and Berlin. Since 2006, she has been working as a freelance author for Arte, Al Jazeera, and the BBC. She has produced reports and documentaries on cultural and development policy in such places as Afghanistan, Ruanda, Sudan, and the Caucasus.
Katharina von Schroeder studied film editing at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in Potsdam Babelsberg. She works as an editor for numerous television stations including the BBC, Al Jazeera, ARD, ZDF, 3Sat, and Arte. In addition, she makes her own documentary films. Her graduation film MY GLOBE IS BROKEN IN RWANDA won the 2010 Max Ophüls Prize (documentary). In 2014, she directed the feature-length WE WERE REBELS (92 min) in South Sudan.
Stefan Pethke is a graduate of the Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB). He is based in Berlin and works as a filmmaker, author and film communicator (including for Berlinale Talents, UNERHÖRT! Musikfilmfestival Hamburg, the Doha Film Institute, and as a lecturer at several German universities) and a subtitler and translator. In 2007, together with Michael Baute, Volker Pantenburg and Stefanie Schlüter he founded the ENTUZIAZM – Freunde der Vermittlung von Film und Text association in Berlin. ENTUZIAZM was also participating in the project “Living Archive – Archive Work as a Contemporary Artistic and Curatorial Practicet” (see “The Business Year 1978”).