I Am Not a Witch
Eight-year-old Shula is roaming about unsuspectingly when a woman crosses her path and suddenly falls. In this remote part of Zambia, there is one plausible explanation for the supposedly harmless incident: Shula is a witch. She’s sent to a camp for women who have all been expelled from their villages for the same reason and now languish in a cross between a penal camp and tourist attraction, tethered to the ground with white ribbons to prevent them from flying away. Based on a reallife phenomenon, I Am Not a Witch develops its hybrid potential with elements of magical realism, Kafkaesque qualities, a generous dose of feminist resolve and plenty of crude humour.
»For over a month I stayed in one of the oldest witch camps in the world (over 200 years old) – the first foreigner to sleep there apparently. It’s my stay at the ›witch camp‹ that informed the script. I observed the life at the camp, how they were organized, the routines and characters. For example the character of Tembo was inspired by the Keeper whose father and father’s father were charged to look after and oversee the witches’ welfare. A job that had been passed down his family for over 100 years. I observed how limited these women’s lives had become based on nothing more than hearsay. I also witnessed the hostility of the locals towards the women in the camp.«
– Rungano Nyoni
Awards for ›I Am Not a Witch‹
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer (Rungano Nyoni and Emily Morgan) – BAFTA Awards 2018 | Best Feature, Best Film – Adelaide Film Festival 2017 | Best Feature Film – Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2017 | Best Director, Breakthrough Producer, Douglas Hickox Award – British Independent Film 2017 | Best Directorial Debut – Stockholm Film Festival 2017
Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni graduated from Central St Martins with a master’s degree in acting. She participated in the Cannes Cinéfondation Residence programme in 2013 and co-directed and co-wrote the short The List, which premiered at the Directors Fortnight. Nyoni also directed the award-winning and BAFTA-nominated Mwansa The Great, and wrote the Locarno Golden Leopard winner The Mass of Men.
Films by Rungano Nyoni
Kuuntele 2014 | Nordic Factory 2014 | Mwansa the Great 2011 | The List 2009 | 20 Questions 2009