Urgent call for the release of Hajooj Kuka

    • News
    • September 21, 2020
    • By the staff

    The International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR*) and its founding institutions, the European Film Academy, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam and International Film Festival Rotterdam call for the Sudanese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release filmmaker Hajooj Kuka and the four artists imprisoned with him.

    Hajooj Mohamed Haj Omar (hajooj kuka) is a prominent Sudanese filmmaker and member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. As a director of both documentary and fiction films, his work has received critical acclaim world-wide. Born in Sudan, Kuka studied in Lebanon and in the United States and currently resides in Sudan. His documentary Beats of the Antonov on war, music and the resilience of the people of the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains, won the People's Choice Award at 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, in addition to six other film festival awards. Due to his work, he was listed in the Foreign Policy Magazine as one of the Leading Global Thinkers of 2014. In 2018, Hajooj Kuka’s first narrative feature film Akasha premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was nominated for Best Film at the Venice International Film Critics Week. Alongside his filmmaking, he also teaches drama and filmmaking to young artists in Khartoum and is the co-founder of the Refugee Club, an alliance of Sudanese artists whose work reflects an awareness of the transitory state of migration.

    On 10 August 2020, Hajooj Kuka was arrested together with ten other artists from the Civic Lab in Khartoum, where they were rehearsing a theatre play. After being detained and assaulted by the police, the Central Khartoum Primary Court issued a verdict against five of the ten young artists, falsely accusing them of public annoyance stipulated in Article 69 of the Criminal Code and Article 77 on disruption of public safety. On 17 September 2020, Hajooj Kuka and four other artists have been sentenced to two months of imprisonment and a fine of 5,000 SDG (76 EUR).

    We are very concerned about the safety of Hajooj Kuka and his fellow artists and call on the Sudanese authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him and his fellow artists and encourage all film and culture institutions around the world to do the same.

    Mike Downey and Marion Döring, President and Director, European Film Academy
    Orwa Nyrabia and Cees van ‘t Hullenaar, Artistic Director and Executive Director, International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
    Vanja Kaludjercic and Marjan van der Haar, Director and Executive Director, International Film Festival Rotterdam
    Alberto Barbera, Artistic Director, Venice International Film Festival
    Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente, Artistic Director and Executive Director, Toronto International Film Festival
    Carlo Chatrian and Mariette Rissenbeek, Artistic Director and Executive Director, Berlinale
    Paolo Moretti and Christophe Leparc, Delegate General and Managing Director, Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
    Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute
    Tabitha Jackson, Festival Director, Sundance Film Festival
    Tricia Tuttle, Director, BFI London Film Festival
    Karel Och, Director, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival
    Emilie Bujès, Artistic Director, Visions du Reel
    Giona Nazzaro, General Delegate, Venice Critic's Week
    Simon Kilmurry, Director, International Documentary Association
    Lucie Borleteau, Vergine Keaton, Thomas Bidegain, Co-presidents, Société des réalisateurs de films (SRF)
    SNCCI - Sindacato Nazionale Critici Cinematografici Italiani
    Tina Trapp, CEO, EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs)
    Marten Rabarts, Director, New Zealand International Film Festival
    Elise Jalladeau, General Director, Thessaloniki International Film Festival
    Christoph Terhechte, Artistic Director, DOK Leipzig
    Chipo Zhou, Head of Programming, Durban International Film Festival
    Rima Mismar, Director, Arab Fund for Arts and Culture
    Jihan El-Tahri, General Director, DOX BOX
    Thom Powers, Artistic Director, DOC NYC
    Human Rights Film Network
    Freemuse
    Julie Trébault, Director Artists at Risk Connection, PEN America
    Jad Abi-Khalil, Chairman of the Board, Beirut DC
    Hicham Falah, General Delegate, Agadir International Documentary Festival
    Judy Kibinge, executive director, Docubox East African Documentary Film Fund
    Mandisa Zitha, Festival Director, Encounters South African International Documentary Festival
    Mandisa Zitha, Chairperson of the Board, Durban FilmMart
    Mohamed Said Ouma, executive director, DocA
    Neil Brandt, Documentary Filmmakers Association South Africa
    Jacintha de Nobrega, SWIFT South Africa
    Thandi Davids, Independent Producer Organisation South Africa
    Theoline Maphutha, Writers Guild of South Africa
    Margje de Koning, Artistic Director, Movies that Matter Festival
    Pau Montagud, Artistic Director, DocsMX, International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City
    Marko Grba Singh, Artistic director IDFF Beldocs
    Marianne Kleven, Union Leader, Directors Guild of Norway

    *Founded by the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, International Film Festival Rotterdam and the European Film Academy, the International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk’s mission is to advocate for and to act in solidarity with filmmakers at risk. The Coalition acts in cases of persecution or threats to the personal safety of these filmmakers and will defend their right to continue their work, by mobilising the international film community.

    Related

    ​International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk Launched Officially in Venice

    • News
    • September 7, 2020
    • The staff

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