Sudan’s First Oscar Entry ‘You Will Die at Twenty’ Lands at Film Movement For North America (EXCLUSIVE)

Elsa Keslassy
·2-min read

Film Movement has acquired North American rights to Amjad Abu Alala’s feature debut “You Will Die at Twenty,” which marks Sudan’s first official Oscar submission.

As part of the deal, Film Movement will give “You Will Die at Twenty” a theatrical rollout via virtual cinema in 2021, followed by a release on home entertainment and digital platforms.

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The film, which is only the eighth narrative feature film to be made in Sudan, follows Muzamil, whose death at age 20 is prophesied on the day of his birth by a traveling sheik. Growing up with his mother, Sakina, in a small village under the constant loom of death, the young boy becomes increasingly curious about what it means to live beyond his mother’s confines.

Represented worldwide by Pyramide International, the film won several awards on the festival circuit, including the Lion of the Future for best debut film at the Venice Film Festival in 2019. It also picked up the Golden Star at the El Gouna Film Festival and the Grand Prix Award in the international competition at the Fribourg International Film Festival.

Variety critic Jay Weissberg described the film as “an affecting work and an impressive first feature thanks in great part to its splendid visual design.”

“We’re both honored and excited to share Abu Alala’s evocative and beautifully filmed drama with audiences across the continent, as Film Movement continues its tradition of bringing the works of exciting new directors to American and Canadian audiences,” said Michael Rosenberg, president of Film Movement and Agathe Mauruc, head of sales at Pyramide International.

“’You Will Die at Twenty’ underscores the fact that there are few corners of the world that don’t have captivating stories to tell, and passionate filmmakers with the talent to put them on film,” added Rosenberg.

Abu Alala said it “was a massive challenge to make this film in Sudan, and having to deal with the revolution, the increasing pressure of the Islamic period, as well as the physical undertaking in a country not used to filmmaking.

“It turned out to be the greatest experience, and has been received so strongly across the world, and [I am] now thrilled to be distributed by Film Movement as the first official Oscar submission from Sudan,” added the emerging filmmaker.

Film Movement’s slate of recent acquisitions include Kawase Naomi’s “True Mothers,” which is Japan’s entry for the Oscar race; as well as “My Little Sister,” Switzerland’s official Oscar submission; and “The Columnist” and “Tailgate,” two award-winning Dutch thrillers.

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