You Will Die at Twenty, directed by Amjad Abu Alala, is Sudan's first-ever submission at the Academy Awards category for Best International Feature Film.
"We're so proud to announce that Sudan has entered the Academy Awards race for the first time with the selection of Amjad Abu Alala’s You Will Die at Twenty," read a post on the film's official Instagram account.
"This marks a significant moment in the country’s cultural landscape and opens doors for a new wave of local filmmakers yearning to have their stories, voices, and perspectives embraced by audiences back at home and abroad," the post continued.
Produced by Hossam Elouan’s Transit Films company, You Will Die at Twenty is set in a Sudanese village in the 1960s, where Sufi beliefs are central to the villagers. The film follows the life of young protagonist Muzamel after a prophecy determines that he will die at the age of 20.
The film also made headlines at the Berlin International Film Festival 2017, where it participated in the Berlinale Co-Production Market.
It then won numerous awards, including the Golden Star for Best Narrative Film at the Gouna Film Festival (2019), the Luigi De Laurentiis Award at the Venice Film Festival (2019), Best Screenplay at Carthage Film Festival (2019), Best Director at Malmö Arab Film Festival (2020), to name but a few.
Sudanese filmmaker Abu Alala was born and raised in the UAE, where he studied media at the United Arab Emirates University. He previously directed and produced a number of short films, some of which took part in film festivals, including Coffee and Orange (2004), Feathers of the Birds (2005), Tina (2009), and His Studio (2012).
He is currently head of the programming committee of the Sudan Independent Film Festival. Transit Films is a Cairo-based production company established by producer Hossam Elouan, which specialises in the production of Egyptian and Arab art-house films.
The final list of the films which entered the Academy Awards race for the Best International Feature Film will be announced by the end of March 2021.
Originally scheduled for 28 February 2021, the Oscars ceremony was postponed for two months. It is set to take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on 25 April 2021.
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