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“THE ART STAR AND THE SUDANESE TWINS” writer-director, Pietra Brettkelly

A large part of my film, The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, was shot in the extraordinary region of southern Sudan. Its first language is Dinka, its second language Arabic. Casual greetings are unfortunately my limits in both these languages, and this was both the challenge and the beauty of trying to film an observational documentary. My cameraman and I were often running on instinct, interpreting the body language of people we were filming. We’ve both filmed overseas and have gained some familiarity with European and Pacific Island languages. But Dinka in particular has no similarity to anything I’d heard before, no recognition of even the smallest of words. Sometimes it wouldn’t be ’till after we’d finished filming that some of the nuances of a scene would be explained to me by a Dinka/English speaker, and often we were lucky that we had captured enough to portray what went on. There is only one instance which shall remain a mystery to viewers where if I’d known the interpretations of some of the asides, I would have lingered much longer in the scene and filmed some of that particular dialogue. To have prepared myself a little more before heading to Sudan and learnt even 10 percent more of the local language, Dinka, would have been invaluable.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, Jan. 18, 9:15 pm — Holiday Village Cinema IV, Park City]

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