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Akasha at LFF 2018

Tuesday 16 October 2018, by Abla Kandalaft

Making the most of the seasonal break in the conflict in Sudan, when the heavy rains and mud make it impossible to fight, filmmaker Hajooj Kuka enrolled the dwellers of a village in the Nuba Mountains to make this offbeat comedy that celebrates the resilience and spirit of those village communities.

Following an argument with his exasperated girlfriend Lina, Adnan legs it out of the bedroom leaving behind Nancy, his beloved AK-47. He ends up running into Adsi, who’s dodging the Kasha, the yearly round-up of soldiers, that Adnan has escaped. The truants then embark on a 24h risky yet comedic quest to reunite Adnan with his gun and with Lina.

Kuka’s previous film was the documentary Beats of the Antonov, which focused on the way music in particular helped local populations in Sudan deal with and navigate life in a war zone. According to him, the people were constantly and actively seeking out the moments in which they could party. It’s this lightness and emphasis on celebration that motivated him to make his next film a comedy.

During those in-between periods of respite in the rainy season, Kuka organised drama workshops with young people in the area. He ended up making Akasha with those very same people, who make up the cast and crew. Kamal Ramadan who plays Adnan was the sound engineer on their previous shorts and Kuka thought it only fair that he should finally get an acting part, so cast him as the lead. In the words of its director, the film is a "work of love" for and by this community. Kuka filmed longer scenes just to allow everyone to appear in the film. He even cast Makala as the bride to give her the chance to experience the wedding celebration she never had in real life.

The film is impressive on many levels. Kuka’s cinematography highlights the beauty of the landscape and, considering the very numerous hurdles the team faced, they created well polished, technically impressive film. It’s also funny and well-crafted, with moments of sharp observational comedy, paying homage in particular to the resilience and the powerful social and political role of the women in that part of the country.

Find more information on the film’s official website or get in touch with us directly if you have any questions you’d like to ask the director.

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