Nostalgic Futures: Animating Nubian Narratives – Narrating Nubia: The Social Lives of Heritage

Nostalgic Futures: Animating Nubian Narratives

Nostalgic Futures: Animating Nubian Narratives, led by Yasmin Moll, examines the ways in which the activism and ideas of our Nubian co-creators bring to the fore the potential of nostalgic remembering for transformative change. It does so through an interdisciplinary focus on community narratives of displacement across multiple lingual traditions. A key outcome will be an animated short in the Nubian languages Mahas and Kenzi and an accompanying ethnographic film.

Hanina | Homesick


2023 Animated Short Film


A young Nubian girl embarks on a journey back in time to reconnect with her drowned homeland. Guided by the Nile egret, she travels underwater within the lake created by the Aswan High Dam to visit Nubia’s mountains and palm trees, water wheels and houses, men and women. She bids farewell to her people as they board the boats that will take them to their resettlement villages. Returning to her own time, she carries the strength of knowing that Nubia will always live on inside her.


Wa Hanina

In the wake of the loss of Nubia to the waters of the Aswan High Dam in 1964, a new genre of Nubian music emerged dubbed “aghani al-tahgir,” or displacement songs. These songs lament the loss of a beloved homeland while recalling aspects of everyday life within it. Wa Hanina is a famous example of this genre. Written by the late great musician Sayed Gayer, the song tells the story of a man who returns to Nubia to find his homeland drowned and himself a stranger to his own memories. Gayer wrote the song for an official gathering in Aswan marking the resettlement project. The governor was in attendance and after witnessing the feelings of loss and grief elicited by Gayer’s performance, he reportedly had the song banned from broadcast. Nubians, however, continued to sing Wa Hanina in their community gatherings, each time revisiting their memories of home.

The Nubian Ethnological Survey of 1962-1964

The Nubian Ethnological Survey of 1962-1964 included hundreds of photographs of Nubia: its landscape, of its architecture, and of the people who call it home. These photos have become an important archive of Nubian collective memory, providing clues into past traditions and modes of life and helping to revitalize heritage in the present. In HANINA these photos are illustrated, woven together, and brought to life.

Upcoming Events and Screenings 2024


Annecy International Animation Festival 2024 | June 9 – 15 | Perspectives Short Films Competition


Margaret Mead Film Festival 2024 | May 9 – 12 at the American Museum of Natural History, NYC


Ethnografilm Paris 2024 | March 29 – April 1 at Club De L’Etoile


London Global Film Awards | March 1st at The Exhibit – Winner Best Animation

Chester International Animation Festival 2024 | March 3rd at Storehouse Cinema Chester

Rapport Festival of Film 2024 | March 27th – April 1 at Whirled Cinema Brixton

Past Events


Boundless Film Festival | 12 – 18 February 2024


Citrus Circuit Film Festival | Miami, FL – Winner Best Animated Short Winter 2024

Project Team

Yasmin Moll // Creative Director

Karson Schenk // Animator & Illustrator

Ahmed Sayed Gayer // Composer and Voice

Mohammed Dawoud // ‘Oud

Hisham Moll // Sound Designer

Hadil Ghoneim // Translator

Nubian Geographic // Translation

Learn More

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