Goodbye Julia

Source: Station Films / MAD Solutions

‘Goodbye Julia’

Pan-Arab outfit MAD Solutions is moving into international sales and has acquired worldwide rights to Mohamed Kordofani’s debut feature Goodbye Julia, the first Sudanese film ever to be selected by the Cannes Film Festival.  

The film will receive its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section of the festival, which announced its lineup today.

Set in Khartoum ahead of Sudan’s division into two separate countries in 2011, the drama explores the differences between their two populations through two women hailing from the north and south of the country. One is a retired singer who seeks redemption for causing the death of man from the South by offering a job as a maid to the second woman, his widow who is oblivious of her involvement.

“I consider Goodbye Julia a call for reconciliation and a spotlight on the social dynamics that led to the separation of the South,” said Kordofani. “Being part of the first-ever official selection of a Sudanese film in Cannes is heartwarming and very promising for this new wave of cinema.”

The two central roles are played respectively by Eiman Yousif and Siran Riak, a supermodel making her feature acting debut in the film. The cast also includes Nazar Goma and Ger Duany, the latter known for his performances in The Nile Hilton Incident and The Good Lie.

It is produced by acclaimed Sudanese filmmaker Amjad Abu Alala, director of You Will Die At Twenty, which became Sudan’s first-ever Oscar submission in 2020. Co-producer is Mohamed Alomda, his partner at Sudanese production company Station Films. Both recently co-produced Amr Gamal’s The Burdened, which became the first Yemeni film selected by the Berlinale, where it played in Panorama in February.

“It’s a historical moment for us and for cinema in Sudan,” said Alala. “We are intent on building a real industry in Sudan and bringing international recognition to this land of untold stories.”

International collaboration

Goodbye Julia is co-production between Sudan, Egypt, Germany, France, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. Sudan’s Station Films is lead producer with co-producers comprising Egypt’s Red Star Films, Sudan’s Klozium Studios, Germany’s Die Gesellschaft, France’s Dolce Vita Films, Saudi Arabia’s Cinewaves Films and Egypt’s Ambient Light as well as Sweden’s RiverFlower and Egypt’s CULT.

Co-producers are Baho Bakhsh, Safei Eldin Mahmoud, Michael Henrichs, Khaled Awad, Mohamed Kordofani, Marc Irmer, Faisal Baltyuor, Issraa Elkogali Häggström, Ali Elarabi, and Adham El Sherif

It has been made in co-production with MAD Solutions, Red Sea and Canal+ International.

At project stage in 2020, Goodbye Julia won five awards at El Gouna Film Festival’s CineGouna Platform including the the MAD Solutions’ award and the top prize for best project in development. 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 and Beirut’s Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC).

The deal extends MAD Solutions’ drive to handle Arabic-language films on a worldwide basis, having recently acquired global rights to Ahd Kamel’s upcoming Saudi project My Driver & I. The company will distribute Kamel’s film internationally while Middle East streaming service OSN will broadcast in the Arab world.