Sudanese short film Al-Sit, directed by Suzannah Mirghani, shall join the 4th edition of Al Ain Film Festival in UAE (January 23rd – 27th), which will be held under the slogan “Future Cinema”. The film previously won 27 international awards, marking the most winning Arab film for 2021.
This year’s edition shall feature 47 films, including 15 films in the Falcon Emirati Short Film Competition, 15 films in the Falcon GCC Short and Feature Film Competitions, 8 films in the Falcon School Film Competition, and 9 films in the Falcon UAE Resident Film Competition.
During its tour in 2021, Al-Sit has won 27 international awards, including the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short from the AFI- American Film Institute in Los Angeles, where the jury described it as “a densely layered and truly cinematic experience”. Furthermore, it nabbed the Canal+/Cine+ Award, which was presented by the French channel Canal Plus Cinema within the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, where the film landed its international premiere, and it had its world premiere at the the Ajyal Film Festival in Qatar.
The film previously won the Best Narrative Short at the New Orleans Film Festival in the USA, and was screened at Carthage Film Festival (JCC), and Sharjah International Film Festival for Children & Youth (SIFF). The film has also received other significant awards, including Best Director at Beirut International Women Film Festival, Best Short Film and Chairman’s award at Zanzibar International Film Festival, Best short film at Ismailia International Film Festival for Documentaries and Shorts where the judge panel voted unanimously to award it Best Short Film, as well as Audience Choice Award, and the Jury Award for Most Promising Filmmaker for the film’s director at Toronto Arab Film Festival. Moreover, the film snatched the Grand Prix at the 51st edition of the Oscar-qualifying Tampere Film Festival; two awards at Malmo Arab Film Festival, Sweden; Best Script award and Special Mention at Huesca International Film Festival, Spain; Special Jury award at Busan International Short Film Festival, Korea, the Award for Excellence in Arab Filmmaking at The European Independent Film Festival, France, and SUDU Prize for Best Short Film at The Quibdó Africa Film Festival.
In a cotton-plantation in Sudan, 15-year-old Nafisa has a crush on Babiker, but her parents have arranged her marriage to Nadir, a young Sudanese businessman who lives abroad. However, Nafisa’s grandmother Al-Sit, the powerful village matriarch, has her own plans for Nafisa’s future. Will Nafisa be able to choose for herself?
The film presents a sentimental story that revolves around Sudanese women, the powerful and the vulnerable while shedding the light on both ends of the social chain as well as the changes imposed by modernity on Sudanese Society.
Al-Sit is written and directed by Suzannah Mirghani, who co-produced it along with Eiman Mirghani, and stars Mihad Murtada, Rabeha Mohammed, Mohammed Magdi, Alsir Mahjoub and Haram Basher. The film is distributed in the Arab world by MAD Solutions and has previously received a development workshop and a production grant from Doha Film Institute, as well as a design grant from VCUarts Qatar. It was also supported by Highlight Productions, On Set Team for Media Productions, and Sudan Film Factory
Suzannah Mirghani is a writer, researcher, and independent filmmaker. She is a media studies and museum studies graduate. Being mixed-race (Sudanese and Russian), she is interested in stories about the complexity of identity. Suzannah is the writer, director, and producer of Al-Sit (2020, Sudan/Qatar), which won 26 international awards, including four Academy Award qualifying prizes. Her latest short is the experimental documentary/social media satire Virtual Voice (2021), which premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Suzannah is currently working on her first feature Cotton Queen, a magical realism tale set in the cotton fields of Sudan.