A film based on the true story of a massacre in Sudan is being lined up by the producers of Cannes award-winning drama Goodbye Julia.
Mohammed Alomda of Sudanese production company Station Films has revealed that filming will take place in 2024 on Specters of AlHoot, which will mark the feature directorial debut of Ahmad Mahmoud. Delivery is expected in 2025.
“This is a true story about three teenagers who flee from a military boot camp to attend a concert, but come back to face a fate they didn’t expect,” said Alomda.
The story will be told against the backdrop of the 1998 Ailafoon military camp massacre, in which 114 young conscripts were killed as they attempted to escape the base to be with families during the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. A mass grave southeast of Sudan’s capital Khartoum, believed to contain the remains of the conscripts, was discovered in 2020.
The ‘AlHoot’ of the title is Mahmoud Abdulaziz, a popular Sudanese singer-songwriter known as AlHoot (aka The Whale) who was an important figure for young people in Sudan opposing the military government. He died in 2013.
The feature is in the works from Station Films, the company behind Mohamed Kordofani’s Goodbye Julia, which is Sudan’s Oscar submission, and Amr Gamal’s The Burdened, which won the Amnesty Prize at the Berlinale and is Yemen’s Oscar entry.
The project has been selected for the CineGouna Platform at the upcoming El Gouna Film Festival, which runs December 14-21.
It previously won the OIF-ACP-UE Prize at Durban FilmMart; the Realness African Screenwriters Residency from Marrakech’s Atlas Workshops; and the Pop-Up Film Residency in 2022. It was developed at Beirut Cinema Platform.
Khartoum-based filmmaker Mahmoud has is a videographer that produces documentaries for national and international NGOs as well as news broadcasters.