Khartoum Offside (2019)


“We – the women – are not allowed to make films or play football under Islamic rule” is the message in the opening credits of the film “Khartoum Offside”.

A group of young ladies in Khartoum are determined to play football professionally. They are prepared to defy the ban imposed by Sudan’s Islamic Military government. Their battle to get officially recognized as Sudan’s National Woman’s team is fearless, courageous and often laughable. Through the intimate portrait of these women over a number of years we follow their moments of hope and deception. There is a new spark of hope when the elections within the federation could mean real change of the entire system.



“ They may be football fans living in a strictly patriarchal Muslim society, but what the protagonists are, above all, is young women, well aware of their sex and bodies, and the need to empower them and protect them.” 

– Cineuropa, Vladan Petkovic

“Strong-willed, refreshingly liberated and ferociously independent, Zein’s footballers defy the mainstream perceptions of Sudanese women.” 

– Middle East Eye, Joseph Fahim

Sudan cinema: Reviving a forgotten art

– Report by Al Jazeera watch here.

Interview with Marwa Zein about her filmmaking approach: Andariya.

Marwa Zein, Sudan, Norway, Denmark & France; 2019, 75´ & 52´(in production)
Berlin IFF 2019; Festivals: CPH:DOX, Visions du Reel, Hot Docs IDFF, Sheffield Doc Fest, Beldocs, Pink Apple, Documentarist Istanbul, JCC Tunisia 2019, Films from the South, Malmo Arab FF, IDFA 2019, Cairo IFF, Watch Docs, Zinegoak, One World IHRFF, Tampere, ACT HRFF, Q FEST Houston LGBTQ, Sao Paolo Mostra
Best Documentary Film at African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), FCAT Spain – Best Documentary, JCC Tunisia – TV 5 Monde Award, Malmo Arab FF – Special Mention, Quibdo Africa Film Festival – Best Directing, Q Fest Houston LGBT Festival – Grand Jury Prize for Best Picture, Best Director & Special Jury Prize for Cinematography
Broadcasters & Distributors
SBS Australia, Current Time TV, 2M Morocco, VOD: Afri Docs, Shahid, North America: Kweli. Cinelogue, Edu: Kanopy, All rights: Arsenal (DE, CH, A), ORYX MEDIA (MENA)
World except of Scandinavia, Finland, Israel, Sudan & Egypt
Festival & sales

Marwa Zein is a Sudanese film director and producer. She was born in Saudi Arabia and lived in Egypt. Graduate at high cinema institute in Cairo. Now she’s between Sudan & Germany. She’s an Alumnus of Berlinale Talent, IDFA Academy & Durban Talent Campus. Khartoum Offside is her first feature documentary.