5 Questions for a Filmmaker–Taghreed Elsanhouri

Taghreed Elsanhouri directed the first Sudanese film to be screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, “All about Darfur,” in 2005. That same year the film also won the Chairperson’s Prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF). Her other credits include ‘Sudanna al Habib’ (2012) and ‘Mother Unknown‘ (2009). This interview is the second in a series. Archived here.

What is your first film memory?

My first film memory is the first film I saw on the big screen. It was an Arabic film called Laylat Alqabt Ala Fatima (The Night Fatima was Arrested), based on a novella by Egyptian journalist and writer, Sakina Fu’ad. She was part of a group of women who wrote about the role of women in a changing society.

Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?

At one point in my life, when I was still working in broadcasting, I suffered from a stint of writer’s block, which made me feel like The Little Mermaid. I felt as if I had lost my voice–that it had been sold or stolen somewhere along the way. Making films became my way to recover my voice.

Which already made film do you wish you had made?

I recently saw British/Ghanaian filmmaker and co-founder of the Black Audio Film Collective John Akomfrah’s exhibition ‘Hauntologies‘ in London and I’m grateful to him for this work, in particular for giving life, through visualization, to a black man and woman who appear in a 16th century painting. Although I do not feel comfortable wishing I had made already made works, I aspire to make films that recover lost voices as perfectly and beautifully as Akomfrah.

Name one of the films on your top-5 list and the reason why it is there.

Babette’s Feast by Danish director Gabriel Axel, because it deals with the human impulse to give back, and the poetry of memory.

Ask yourself any question you think I should have asked and answer it.

What was your motivation for making your latest film Our Beloved Sudan? I wanted the footprints of my country to appear in the history, and to tell a story about the partition of my country from a Sudanese perspective.

* The ‘5 Questions for a Filmmaker …’ series is archived here.

Further Reading

Stop selling out

Ugandan activist and politician Dr. Stella Nyanzi challenges a new generation of women to take up the struggle for political freedoms and revolution.

Soft targets

What was behind the assassinations in the 1980s of two key anti-apartheid figures: Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, and senior ANC official, Dulcie September?