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Sudan’s ‘A Kasha’ Wins Two Prizes at Venice Film Festival’s Final Cut Workshop

VENICE, Italy – Sudanese director’s Hajooj Kuka’s “A Kasha,” an offbeat romancer set against the backdrop of Sudan’s civil war, has emerged as the standout title at this year’s Final Cut in Venice workshop, scooping two awards: the event’s new Biennale Prize and a prize in services provided by subtitling company Sub-ti.

The Biennale Prize for best film in post-production was awarded to “Kasha” (pictured) by a jury comprising Hengameh Panahi, president of French sales company Celluloid Dreams, Italian arthouse distributor Claudia Bedogni, and French producer Arnaud Dommerc.

The film revolves around an anti-government rebel fighter named Adnan “whose love for fighting and his AK-47 are rivaled only by his feelings for Lina, his long-suffering sweetheart,” according to promotional materials. When Adnan is late to return to his military unit after leave, the army commander launches what is known as a “kasha” to round up truant soldiers. Distracted by Lina, Adnan is caught off guard and makes a run for it.

Kuka’s previous works include Sudanese civil war-themed documentary “Beats of Antonov,” which won the People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Final Cut in Venice is part of the Venice Film Festival’s market side, which is called the Venice Production Bridge. The workshop provides post-production support and partnership opportunities to films in advanced stages of production from Africa and the Arab world.

Besides “A Kasha,” the other Final Cut works that will receive different types of support, including free color correction, sound mix, distribution, DCP costs and cash are:

— “Dream Away,” a documentary about the impact of terror attacks on hotel workers in the Egyptian tourist hub of Sharm El Sheikh, co-directed by Egypt’s Marouan Omara and Germany’s Johanna Domke and produced by Roman Roitman and Mark Lotfy.

— “Joint Possession/Indivision,” a drama set on the hills around Tangier where rapacious real estate developers are tearing up the landscape and a family must decide whether to sell a large plot of land on which their old manor house lies. It is produced by Emmanuel Barrault. Kilani’s debut feature, “On the Edge,” screened in 2012 at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

— “The Harvesters,” about an Afrikaans teenager forced to hide his homosexuality in a community “obsessed with strength, masculinity and ancestry,” according to promotional materials. Directed by Greek/South African writer-director Etienne Kallos. France’s Pyramide International is selling globally.

Final Cut in Venice is organized by the Venice Production Bridge in collaboration with both the Amiens International Film Festival and the Fribourg International Film Festival.

Six selected projects in post-production were presented to producers, buyers, distributors and international fest directors on the Lido to facilitate their post-production process, promote possible co-production partnerships and their access to the distribution market.

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