We've all heard about Sudan. War, genocide. Mostly horror stories. But during my 3 years working in Sudan, I saw many other realities. Stories in the media tend to oversimplify the situation there. The tight cordon around Sudan has meant that stories of incredible young people and their complex world spill out only piecemeal, in novels about child soldiers and heart-wrenching photographs of refugees who fled from conflict.
But by the time the photo has reached your desktop, or the novel has reached your bookstore, the young people in it have grown older. That street kid with the swollen belly who didn't know it was Christmas? He's found a family. That teenager from Darfur? She's now enrolled in a university. That indifferent young man from the "Arab street?" A blogger. Nowhere else is youth more complex than in Sudan.
Wouldn't it be great to watch a film, learn something new, and say "hey, I helped to make this happen!" Now is your chance.
At a historical crossroad, Sudan is about to split in two. A referendum on self-determination in early 2011 will likely separate the Muslim North and the Christian South into two countries. Yet the current country’s capital, Khartoum, is a haven of peace and stability where Sudanese from different regions, ethnicity and religion coexist. Youth from diverse backgrounds are all waiting each in their own way to build Sudan. But their country is a ticking bomb. The film follows young people ranging from the ages of 8 to 30 whom all live in Khartoum, and are each confronted with a unique quest. Their journeys take us between North and South Sudan. For the first time a film gives a voice to Sudanese youth from different origins, Muslims and Christians. The Waiting Room is an intimate portrait of a society that remains unknown to most and misunderstood by many. It addresses contemporary issues of identity and religion which continue to shape the world we live in.
I've been lucky to work on this film with talented Director of Photography, Katerine Giguère. The film will attempt to achieve unique aesthetics by creating a close relationship between the characters and their environment. Khartoum’s suffocating and dormant feel will be rendered as the city seems to crowd around each character. The city with its incredible heath, sandy streets and unfinished high-rises, will become a character in itself—a mysterious character who we are drawn to but who we never fully understand.
Your money will enable us to finish shooting the film this December, before the referendum which is due to take place early January. We shot some footage already which enabled us to make the demo you see her, but we have a lot more to film! The money will go to airfare to Sudan, living and travel expenses, equipment and post-production with whatever is left over.
But why should you care? Because the Obama administration cares about Sudan. Even the George W. Bush administration cared. Maybe you've donated to causes for Darfur, but wouldn't you like to know what it's really like to live in Sudan? A lot of political decisions are being made by our governments about Sudan, but we still know so little about the people who live there.
Director/Producer: Alexandra Sicotte-Lévesque
Director of Photography: Katerine Giguère
Co-Producers: Yanick Létourneau (Periphéria), Alessandro Pavone
Editor (demo): Elric Robichon
Very special thanks to Christian Jaeger Deitch for his constant help and support
The film has also received financial support from the Canadian Independent Film & Video Fund, and SODEC (Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles du Québec)
- (30 days)