“Waja Ta Jena” wins second Juba Film Award

By Nichola Dominic Mandil

The Maridi Information Youth Network Association (MINYA) scooped the top prize of sixty thousand South Sudanese Pounds at the Juba Film Festival, the 2nd Junubna Award ceremony on Saturday night, 9th September 2017.

The winning film was “Waja Ta Jena,” in Arabic meaning “The pain of a Child.” The wining best longest fiction film tells the story about a South Sudanese high school girl who dropped out from school when she got pregnant.

Her parents supported her and she returned to school after she delivered and baby and she performed better by leading her class in the final examinations.

There were seventy five films that competed for the second Junubna Award this year. Amongst other winning films was the best comedian film entitled “Longonyo”, in colloquial Juba Arabic of South Sudan, meaning “Stingy”.

A wining human right film was “Kifaya,” –meaning “enough.” This film tells the story about the sufferings endured by the disabled people in South—who say struggle must continue despite the hardships they face on daily basis.

The best documentary film was “Sunday to Remember,” while the best short film was: “Bliss”. The best director was Mr. Leviticus Levi, of Waja ta Jene, the winning long fiction film.

The Guest of Honor of the day, Mr. Laurence Korbandy, the Legal Advisor to President Salva Kiir, was the one who announced the winning film, “Waja ta Jene,” amidst applause and ululation from supporters of the winning group.

In his address to the audience and the film makers, Mr. Korbandy congratulated the winners and all those who did not make it this time. However he said for one to succeed there is need for commitment.

“For you to succeed in life, you must be committed. Nigerians started in a simple way, like you acting in the street and today they are the best,” Mr. Korbandy said.

“Thanks to all the sponsors of the Juba second Film Festival. South Sudan has friends across the border and this is very encouraging. Without you, we wouldn’t have supported them in the way you have done,” Mr. Korbandy added.

The representative of the National Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports Mr. Peter Malith, who spoke on behalf of his minister who was not present, said, “South Sudan is very rich in arts and cultures and the ministry will help the youth to organise a lot of artistic functions.”

Speaking to Juba Monitor at the end of the event, the Director of the winning film, Leviticus Levi, whose group won the top award, said he was proud as a South Sudanese not for winning the top award, but for the work he and his group has done, and promised to continue to do more.

“There are more scripts ready and with the cash (money) that we have obtained today, I will produce another film,” Mr. Levi said.

When asked where the film would be shown, he said, “there are challenges, we need to produce more CDs (compact disks) so that we could distribute to the communities to watch, but this is not possible. But we are going to showcase our film by organizing events where the film will be shown,” he disclosed.

The Director of Juba Film Festival, Simon Bingo, the organizer of the event, explained the purposed of the Second Juba Festival Film in a country that has been at war for the last four years.

He said, “I am a very pound South Sudanese man tonight because success of this event.”

“There were challenges, but we as film makers want to create an avenue where we all come together to see our own stories with our local communities,” he added.

“The current crisis in South Sudan has motivated us to come up with Juba Film Festival, because people outside know South Sudan as a country, but want to show them another part of South Sudan, we want to tell them listen, South Sudan is not what you see outside there, South Sudan has got talents, South Sudan has positive stories this is what we want to try as much as possible as film makers,” Mr. Bing stressed.

The aim of the Juba Film competition is to help young South Sudanese discover new talents.

The partners who sponsored the Juba Film Festival, 2nd Junubna Award included: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Internews, Japanese Embassy in South Sudan, Swedish Embassy in South Sudan, Swiss Agency for Corporation (SDC), Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Al-Mugif Arabic newspaper, SAMA FM 99.3, Al-Watan Arabic newspaper, Bakhita Radio-91.0 FM, The BERTHA, City FM-88.4, Eye Radio, Radio-1, 87.9 FM, Sweden Sverige, and Juba Monitor English daily newspaper.

All the partners (including Juba Monitor) were given awards by the organisers of the Juba Film Festival 2017, as a token of appreciation for their support to the film industry in South Sudan.

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