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Documentary Competition

English, SiSwati

(2017, 77 min.)

Directed by: Amanda Kopp, Aaron Kopp
Executive Producer: Thandie Newton
Producers: Amanda Kopp, Aaron Kopp, Sakheni Dlamini, Daniel Junge, Davis Coombe
Cinematographer: Aaron Kopp
Editor: Davis Coombe, Aaron Kopp
Music: Philip Miller
Animation Artwork: Shofela Coker
Cast: Gcina Mhlophe

A talented group of orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland confront past trauma through the creation of a fictional story. Their young heroine, Liyana, must embark on a dangerous quest to save her brothers after their home is violently attacked and her siblings are stolen away. Confronting painful memories, profound insights are revealed as the children shape Liyana’s mythic journey and parallels are drawn between her fate and that of the young storytellers.

Amanda and Aaron Kopp’s debut feature is an innately collaborative effort, featuring the talents of story advisor Gcina Mhlophe and animator Shofela Coker. Mhlophe eschews the bleak orphan cliché, guiding the children through narratives that are distinctly their own and that reflect the breadth of their creativity. Live action footage and charismatic interviews set the stage, while Coker’s distinctive animation brings the children’s epic tale to life.

– Stephanie Owens


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