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75 min. Arabic.

Among the protagonists of Marwa Zein's documentary, Sara is the one depicted with a remarkable entrepreneurial mind. And the group of young sporty women she belongs to is very much in need of business models to make their dream come true: putting together a Sudanese team for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. But besides lack of finances, there are quite a lot of other obstacles to overcome. Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum explores this feminist universe on the outskirts of Sudan's capital, where jokes are cracked as versatile as the ball is kicked into the goal. The young women, with and without veil play football, take their smartphones to bed: they are bond by street smarts and staggering energy which have brought them together as a sports team that doubles up as a collective survival strategy. Demonstrating considerable intimacy with these women, Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum reveals their daily lives in a city full of contradictions, showing how family traditions, politics and religion dare to dictate their life plans. Marwa Zein’s debut is at once cinematic proof of the power of female friendship and a Sudanese filmmaker’s concerted effort to rectify stereotypical perceptions of her country. (Dorothee Wenner)

Marwa Zein was born in Saudi Arabia in 1985. She studied film and television directing at the High Cinema Institute of the Cairo Academy of Arts. After her studies, she worked as assistant director but also worked on her own films and projects. In 2009, she participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus. Since 2014, Marwa Zein has worked as a programmer for the Sudan Independent Film Festival in Khartoum. She lives in Sudan and Germany, and since 2018 has been studying at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum is her first feauture-length film.

An unwavering struggle

A group of exceptional young women in Khartoum are determined to play football professionally. They are prepared to defy the ban imposed by Sudan’s Islamic military government and they will not take no for an answer.
They fight courageously and fearlessly to be officially recognised as Sudan’s national women’s team – at times, they find themselves in laughable situations, but their struggle is unwavering.
Through the intimate portraits of these women, created over a number of years, we follow their moments of hope and of disappointment. Although the Sudan Football Association receives funds from FIFA earmarked for the women’s team, the team continues to be marginalised. When the time for new elections within the association arrives, there is a spark of hope that this might allow for real change in the entire system. (Ore Productions)

Unknowingly courageous

I spent many years thinking about Sudan, as I was concerned with questions of identity and the idea of home. I was born in Saudi Arabia, spent my childhood there, and then moved to Cairo in Egypt. This chapter of my life brought me closer to my home country of Sudan and nurtured the desire to engage with it more fully.
In Sudan, women are prevented from doing what they want in every aspect of life. All the rules and regulations are designed to curtail our freedom. It was even a struggle for me to hold the camera in the street!
Between 2014 and 2018, I did not have a filming permit and the girls and I got caught three times while shooting. We were aware that it would be a challenge and that we had a difficult road ahead of us. But the girls’ strength and resistance spurred me on. I wanted to show their courage, which they are often not even aware of themselves.
As an African-Arab woman, I fought to be a filmmaker. I fought the conservative society and the patriarchal structures. Making OUFSAIYED ELKHORTOUM, showing these exceptional young women, I consider to be a task that was meant for me and which required me to raise my voice – to speak for myself and for the many others in our silenced countries. OUFSAIYED ELKHORTOUM is my way of reflecting on Sudan and its people, with whom I share so much. Recognising myself in the struggle of others was an exceptional experience. (Marwa Zein)

Production Marwa Zein, Henrik Underbjerg. Production companies ORE Productions (Khartoum, Sudan), Stray Dog Productions (Oslo, Norway), Stray Dog Productions (Copenhagen, Denmark). Written and directed by Marwa Zein. Cinematography Marwa Zein. Editing Mohammed Emad Rizq. Music Tunde Jegede. Sound design Sara Kaddouri. Sound Marcel Knuth. With Sara Edward Ernest Jubara, Nedal Fadlallah (Henda), Halah Zakariya, Coach Abdelkarim (Coach Abodu), Fatma Gaddal, Elham Balatoun.

World sales ORE Productions
Premiere February 13, 2019, Forum


2008: Randa (16 min.). 2010: A Game (7 min.). 2014: Culture for All (13 min.). 2015: What a Lover Can Be?! (10 min.). 2017: One Week, Two Days (20 min.), Fontainebleau (5 min.). 2019: Oufsaiyed Elkhortoum / Khartoum Offside.

Photo: © Marwa Zein Arbab

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur