By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published October 16, 2008
Sudanese national Gadala Gubara may well have made his first film while working with the British colonial film unit in the late 1940s, but he is largely unknown. Now blind, Gubara continues to produce films about his country. His films were screened at the 5th Amakula Kampala International Film Festival in May 2008 from where he spoke to BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI about his career.
How did you start your long career into filmmaking?
I started in 1946 when I was working with the mobile film unit of the Sudanese government.
What is the duty of the African filmmaker?
His first duty is to make films of high quality that are appreciated by viewers.
What is the role of the African governments in filmmaking?
All African governments are terrible; they offer no help to people to make films. The people in charge of education and culture don’t know what to do.
What is the status of African cinema?
It has no status.
How best would you describe the Sudanese film industry?
Sudan has no film industry. Only six films have been made in the country till now.
Are there any big challenges facing the African film sector that you would wish to highlight?
All we want from our governments is to support us to make films, other information and media. Otherwise we cannot do anything.
How was it like working with such pioneer filmmakers like Ousmane Sembene of Senegal?
Sembene was a good friend of mine and he was a good leader and director. But Sembene, like all the other West African directors, have been created by France which wants to impose its culture on Africans. The French create the likes of Ousmane Sembene to make films with a French scene but with an African director.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I am the first Sudanese to have made the first private film studio in the Sudan. I also made the first colour film in Sudan. All my children are in cinema and are doing all right.
Which of your films do you consider as the best?
The best is my long feature film called TAJOOG; it is similar to the story of Romeo and Juliet. Tajoog is the beautiful cousin of a young man who is deeply in love with her but the tribe will not accept her to marry him because he mentions her name in his songs. At first he marries her and mentions her name in his songs, which is considered an insult and she divorces him. He flees to the desert weeping and singing. Before he dies he is brought back to the village and dies in the hands of his lover, Tajoog. This is the best film I have made.
When will you release your next film?
I hope within two or three months from now; I have three scenarios ready for showing. One of them is about Al Mahdi, the ex-ruler of the Sudan and the great battle between him and the British, and how his army defeats the British. The second is about a Sudanese queen during the era of the Pharaohs called Alkndaka. The third film is about one of the good leaders of the Sudanese nation called Almak Nemer, the man who killed the son of Ibrahim Pasha.