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Cinema in the Sudan has gone through different periods hugely influenced by the political and cultural climate in the country. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a group of Sudanese filmmakers working in the film department of the Ministry of Culture at the time published the magazine CINEMA. This group founded the Sudanese Film Group (SFG) in April 1989 in order to be able to act more independently of the state. Their aim was to be involved in all aspects of film production, screening and teaching and to maintain the Sudanese* passion for cinema. On 30 June 1989, however, the coup of Omar Al-Bashir, which brought with it a distrust of all forms of art, ended all cultural endeavours. All civil society organisations were banned. In 2005 the firm hand of the state was finally loosened somewhat and SFG was able to register again.

On April 15 2023, war erupted in Sudan between two rival military factions. Hopes for a democratic transition, ignited in 2019 by the overthrow of dictator Al-Bashir, have been crushed in a few short months. By July 2023, over 3.5 million people had been displaced internally or across borders. Documented casualties stand at 12,500 injured, with civilian deaths of over 1000.

Two members of the Sudanese Film Group, Suliman Elnour and Ibrahim Shaddad, had to leave Sudan. Driven by fear of the imminent danger for their lives they abandoned their work, their archives, their premises and all their worldly possessions and escaped with their families to Egypt in June 2023. Since their exile in Cairo they have been trying to surmount the war trauma, coordinate their stay in Egypt and resume their work. Together with five other members of the SFG, three of them also recently fled the country, they are now trying to integrate within the Egyptian film community, exhibit their work and make new relevant films.

As part of the project "Archive außer sich", Arsenal digitally restored seven short films by the group. Together with another film of the SFG Arsenal is distributing them worldwide and released them on DVD. Those films are the only ones of the SFG that are left. To support the group, we ask you now for help. What can you do?

Cinemas or Festivals: Rent the films and show them to your audience. The rental fee for the entire package is 600 Euro (net). To learn about prices for single titles please get in touch with us: distribution@arsenal-berlin.de.

Arsenal 3 users: From September, the films will be available throughout Germany, and from October 15 worldwide on Arsenal 3. Stream the films and recommend them to others. The price for a short film is only 3 Euro. https://www.arsenal-3-berlin.de/en/pages/home

Arsenal visitors & everyone: Purchase a DVD for a solidarity price of 20 Euros at our ticket counter or order one from us: mail@arsenal-berlin.de.

Special for Cinemas or Festivals: Within this campaign you can also screen the films by the Sudanese painter, poet and filmmaker Hussein Shariffe (1934–2005). His daughter Eiman Hussein generously offers to pass on all associated revenues to SFG. Shariffe fled into exile following the 1989 military coup. His third and final destination in a long life of transnational displacement was also Cairo, where he continued an exilic art practice that crossed disciplinary boundaries between film, poetry, literature and painting.

This campaign will last until January 31, 2024. The proceeds help the group to continue working in exile.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media