The two Sudans

Collaborative online film project from Sudanese, South Sudanese

and German filmmakers.

Online in English, Arabic, German

On July 9th 2011, Africa’s largest nation was split in two to become Sudan and South Sudan.

In the run-up to that date, we, a group of young filmmakers from Sudan and Germany, felt the need to capture the impact of this unique and historic moment on camera. When we met for the first time in December 2010, Sudan was still a united country, but it was foreseeable that this would soon no longer be the case.

After decades of civil war, which had cost the lives of more than 2 million people and displaced another 4 million, a peace accord was signed in 2005, which included the right of self-determination for the southern Sudanese to vote for or against independence. We knew that separation would be the most likely outcome. As euphoria spread through the South, the northerners did not take part in the vote and most of them became very melancholic.

In this time of political turmoil, our team was driven by the common interest to understand how these events are affecting the lives of the people in the North and the South of the country. The Sudanese directors started to follow their protagonists – sometimes friends or family members – and to ask questions about their lives, hopes and dreams. What will change in your future life? What does home mean to you? How can you achieve your personal goals? How do you define your identity?

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of 98% of southerners voted in favour of independence. But many political issues remained unresolved. No agreement had been met regarding the precise demarcation of the border. The future status of an estimated 2 million southern Sudanese living in the North remained unclear. How the revenue from the oil fields was to be shared was another highly sensitive issue. And was southern Sudan, virtually without infrastructure and still suffering from the effects of decades of war and internal conflicts, ready to become an independent state?

On Independence Day on July 9th 2011, all remaining questions were swept aside as we were able to witness the overwhelming celebrations of the birth of a new nation, that of South Sudan. Some filmmakers and protagonists were optimistic that a peaceful co-existence between the new neighbours would now be possible, allowing the people to simply live their lives. Others were more fearful. Sadly, military conflicts broke out once again some months later. In 2012, Sudan and South Sudan managed to return to the negotiating table, but the peace situation still remained a fragile one. For us, it became even more pressing to shed some light onto the personal stories of those at ground level.

Therefore, we created an ongoing web documentary, which embarks on a visually and emotionally gripping journey into Sudan and South Sudan – THE TWO SUDANS

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