Life in film: preserving the legacy of Sudanese film-maker Jadallah Jubara

Technology & Convergence

As she drove past an apartment complex on a street in Khartoum, Sara Jadallah fell silent. It was here that her late father, the legendary film-maker Jadallah Jubara, set up Sudan’s first private film studio in the 1970s.

But in 2008, following an eight-year court battle over ownership of the land, the government demolished Studio Jad. The demolition, shortly before the film-maker’s death at the age of 88, left little trace of the studio.

As she stopped next to the blocks of flats that now stand in its place, Jadallah pointed at a white patch on an old wall among the new buildings. “The screen is still there,” she said.

With her father’s studio gone, Jadallah has vowed to preserve his life’s work. With help from German experts, she has started digitising his entire film collection to create what she believes is Sudan’s first private archive of 15 and 35mm films.

“Through his camera he documented Sudan’s history. I want to preserve this legacy,” Jadallah, 66, said.

An officer in the British army, Jubara began work as a projectionist in a British mobile film unit shortly after the second world war. He went on to capture iconic moments in Sudan’s history, including the hoisting of the flag as the country gained independence from Britain in 1956.

He produced more than 100 documentaries and four feature films in a career spanning more than five decades, including a famous 1984 love story Tajooj. But years of storage in poor conditions have taken a toll on his archives.
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