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Entertainment TIFF Heads Call For Release Of Doc Filmmaker hajooj kuka, Jailed In Khartoum

22:15  19 september  2020
22:15  19 september  2020 Source:   deadline.com

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Sudan documentary maker Hajooj Kuka , a new member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and one of five artists recently jailed in Khartoum , has received a call for an immediate release by the Toronto Film Festival. " Hajooj Kuka is an exceptional filmmaker .

Call for release . Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka , whose films “Beats of the Antonov” and “aKasha” have played the Venice and Toronto film The artists were involved in an altercation in Khartoum in August, after authorities reportedly responded to noise complaints from neighbors

Hajooj Kuka holding a wine glass © YouTube

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Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente, the co-heads of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have called for the immediate release of documentary filmmaker hajooj kuka.

He, along with four other artists (Duaa Tarig Mohamed Ahmed, Abdel Rahman Mohamed Hamdan, Ayman Khalaf Allah Mohamed Ahmed, and Ahmed Elsadig Ahmed Hammad), have been jailed for two months in Khartoum following an attack on the Civic Lab, where they were creating  art for community engagement.

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Call For Release . Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka , whose films “Beats of the Antonov” and “aKasha” have played the Venice and Toronto film The artists were involved in an altercation in Khartoum in August, after authorities reportedly responded to noise complaints from neighbors

Film industry professionals have called for the release of five Sudanese artists, including prize-winning filmmaker Hajooj Kuka , after they Cameron Bailey, the artistic director and co- head of the Toronto International Film Festival, said “ Hajooj Kuka is an exceptional filmmaker now he’s been jailed in

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“hajooj kuka is an exceptional filmmaker and TIFF has been proud to present his work,” said Vicente and Bailey. “His films Beats of the Antonov and aKasha revealed a singular view of life in Sudan through the eyes of a remarkable artist. hajooj, along with four other artists, is now in prison in Sudan and we need to bring attention to this urgent and troubling situation. When an artist is silenced, society as a whole suffers.”

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Hajooj Kuka is the founder of Refugee Club and the director of Beats of the Antonov. Kuka was born in Sudan of the Mahas ethnic group, but relocated with his family to Abu Dhabi.

This is an in depth interview with director Hajooj Kuka and musician Alsarah of the documentary Beats of the Antonov during the Toronto International Film

According to the Sudanese organization Gisa, where kuka is co-director: “The case, which was policed, prosecuted, and judged by al-Bashir era authorities, points to a dangerous backsliding in Sudan as oppressive laws put in place by the former regime continue to stifle free expression and target artists and human rights defenders.”

In an effort to increase awareness of kuka’s imprisonment and to demonstrate the value of artistic and political expression, both Beats of the Antonov and aKasha will be available to rent for free on the following dates:

Bell Digital Cinema – to Canadian audiences starting at 10 AM on September 19 until the rental deadline of 6 PM. Once rented, audiences will have 24 hours to start the film, and an additional 12 hours to finish watching.

Digital Cinema Pro – to international industry and press starting at 10 AM on September 19 until 10 AM on September 20.

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Film industry professionals have called for the release of five Sudanese artists, including a prize-winning filmmaker , after they were Filmmaker Hajooj Kuka was sentenced on Thursday, along with four fellow artists belonging to the "Civic Lab" collective after being convicted on the charge, according

Hajooj Kuka is an exceptional filmmaker . @TheAcademy member @ hajooj + 4 artists jailed for 2 months on fake charges in Khartoum . Write 2 SudanEmbassy in yr country for their release . Morning from # TIFF 20 ! We're happy to report that coronavirus doc 76 DAYS, isn't just bleak, but empathetic and urgent.

TIFF also encouraged audiences to contact the Sudanese Embassy in their country and follow #ReleaseTheArtistsSudan on social media to learn more about this issue.

Two of kuka’s films, Beats of the Antonov (2014) and aKasha (2018), have premiered at TIFF, with the former winning the TIFF People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary.

Beats of the Antonov paints an inspiring portrait of a people who, despite having lost kin, homes, and livelihoods in the ongoing conflict in Sudan, have improvised creative ways to continue harvesting crops and herding cattle and continue to celebrate their heritage in the face of devastation and defeat. Threading together the voices (speaking and singing) of militants, social workers, intellectuals and other everyday folk, Beats of the Antonov reverses conventional representations of victimhood and reveals an alternative narrative of tenacity and resilience.

aKasha is an offbeat comedy about a love triangle between a boy, a girl, and an AK-47, set during the short respite from civil unrest that takes place during the rainy season in Sudan.

After a post-coital argument with Lina (Ekram Marcus), Adnan (Kamal Ramadan) hightails it without grabbing his gun. With his pants barely pulled up, he runs into Absi (Ganja Mohamed Chakado), a young man who’s not keen on rejoining the fighting. He wants to dodge the “kasha,” the annual round-up of soldiers. The pair then embark on a wild 24 hours,  dodging their higher-ups, elders, and romantic rivals alike to try and get back Adnan’s girl, his gun, and his dignity.

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