GOODBYE JULIA breaks new ground for Arab cinema at Cannes The first Sudanese drama to feature at the French festival stole the show!

Press release
Published May 25th, 2023 - 09:47 GMT
GOODBYE JULIA breaks new ground for Arab cinema at Cannes The first Sudanese drama to feature at the French festival stole the show!
During the event

The first ever Sudanese drama to be selected to feature at the Cannes Film Festival, GOODBYE JULIA by Mohamed Kordofani premiered on Thursday, May 18th at the Théâtre Claude Debussy to resounding acclaim and praise.

The stars were out in full force for the debut of the film at the renowned French festival, with VIPs and media personalities clamoring for a chance to witness the highly-anticipated movie firsthand. And boy, did the film deliver! The screening was met with a thunderous 10-minute standing ovation — a testament to the film's powerful message and the meticulous attention to detail from the talented cast and crew.

The premiere was not only a star-studded affair, but also an occasion for the press and movie critics to weigh in on the highly-anticipated flick.

The film sparked a flurry of commentary and analysis from industry experts and journalists alike, with Screen Daily’s Lisa Nesselson describing the film as “a timeless tale of persecution and guilt set in pre-seceded Sudan.” While Hollywood Reporter’s Lovia Gyarkye said: “With its classic, accessible style, GOODBYE JULIA will surely rally more support for the cinema of Sudan — a nation full of stories that need to be told about its past and present.”

At the same time, Kévin Corbel of the Festival de Cannes said that "GOODBYE JULIA brings citizens from the two countries to the same table, brought together by a drama that affects them each differently,” underscoring the film's ability to bridge cultural divides and bring people together through its powerful storytelling.

The film already had two more screenings since then on Sunday, May 21st, and will screen one last time on Monday, May 22nd at 1:45 pm at PALAIS H.

It's also no wonder that GOODBYE JULIA is the talk of the town at Cannes and beyond since it’s the first Arab film in history to be featured on a huge billboard in Cannes, further cementing its status as a historic heavy-weight Afro-Arab entry in the prominent festival.

GOODBYE JULIA follows the story of Mona — a northern Sudanese retired singer in a tense marriage — who is wracked by guilt after covering up a murder. In an attempt to make amends, she takes in the deceased’s southern Sudanese widow, Julia, and her son, Daniel, into her home.

Unable to confess her transgressions to Julia, Mona decides to leave the past behind and adjust to a new status quo, unaware that the country’s turmoil may find its way into her home and put her face to face with her sins.

The film stars Eiman Yousif, Siran Riak — the former Ms. South Sudan — Nazar Goma, and Ger Duany, is written and directed by Kordofani, and produced by Station Films’ acclaimed Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala — the director of Sudan’s first-ever submission to the Academy Awards YOU WILL DIE AT TWENTY — in collaboration with producer Mohamed Al-Omda, who co-produced Yemen’s Berlin International Film Festival selection THE BURDENED.

A true example of Arab-European collaboration, GOODBYE JULIA is also co-produced by Baho Bakhsh and Safei Eldin Mahmoud (Red Star Films), Michael Henrichs (Die Gesellschaft), Khaled Awad and Mohamed Kordofani (Klozium Studios), Marc Irmer (Dolce Vita), Faisal Baltyuor (Cinewaves Films), Ali El-Arabi (Ambient Light), Adham El-Sherif (CULT), and Issraa Elkogali Häggström (RiverFlower).

Additionally, MAD Solutions is handling the Un Certain Regard contender’s worldwide sales, while the French distributor ARP Sélection - Le Cinéma que J'aime is handling distribution in France.

ARP Sélection is known for various prominent films, such as EO — which premiered at Cannes and won the Jury Prize — Oscar-winning movie THE WHALE, NOSTALGIA, BRIGHTON 4TH, and BEAU IS AFRAID.

Previously, GOODBYE JULIA won MAD Solutions’ Grant Award at the CineGouna SpringBoard that was held at the fourth El Gouna Film Festival, Best Film Project in the Development Phase ($15,000), a certificate from the El Gouna Cinema Platform, a Mentorship Prize from the IEFTA, and the New Century Prize ($10,000).

It also won the Malmö Arab Film Festival’s award for Best Project In Development and received financial support from Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Fund, the Paris Region, ARRI, and Film und Medienstiftung NRW.

Kordofani is a Sudanese filmmaker whose short film NYERKUK won the Black Elephant Award for Best Sudanese Film, NAAS Award for Best Arab Film at the Carthage Film Festival, Jury Award at the Oran International Arab Film Festival, and Arnone-Belavite Pellegrini Award at the FCAAA in Milan.

His second short KEJERS PRISON was screened during the Sudanese revolution at the sit-in square in front of thousands of protesters, and his documentary A TOUR IN LOVE REPUBLIC was the first pro-revolution film to be broadcasted on Sudan's national TV.

His last film was THIS IS SUDAN, which was commissioned by Sudan’s former prime minister Abdallah Hamdok to promote Sudan's potential for investment.

Background Information

MAD Solutions

MAD Solutions is the first Pan-Arab independent studio and fully integrative marketing and creative consultancy for the Arab film and Entertainment Industry. Under the umbrella of MAD Solutions, the studio is supported by five pillars: MAD Marketing, MAD Content, MAD Distribution, MAD Culture and MAD Celebrity, which together are helping to usher in an exciting new generation of Arab filmmakers and entertainment talent.

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