Films

I Am not a Witch

I Am not a Witch

Synopsis

Director

After a minor incident involving spilt water, nine-year-old Shula (Margaret Mulubwa) is denounced as a witch, and removed from her village community in rural Zambia. From there, she is taken to a government-run travelling witch camp, in this arresting first feature from Zambia-born, Wales-raised Rungano Nyoni.

Like all the other women at the witch camp, Shula is bound to a white ribbon to stop her from flying away. She must spend her first night in a shed. If she cuts the ribbon, she will turn into a goat. If not, she must stay in the camp as a witch. The film crafts a framework of superstition and ritual, onto which is hung a vividly realised, if enigmatic portrait of a child’s life. Shula is collateral damage in a cottage industry which cynically markets local traditions.

It’s striking, sparse filmmaking. Cast with non-professionals, the story is approached with a kind of deadpan eccentricity. A declamatory delivery heightens the sense of matter-of-fact oddness. There’s humour too, at least in the first half of the film before the weight of her new life and responsibilities causes little Shula to fold in on herself.

Wendy Ide

Rungano Nyoni

b. Lusaka, Zambia) grew up in Wales. Her short films have been screened at festivals all over the world: „Mwansa the Great“ (2011) was nominated for a BAFTA, „Listen“ (2014), den co-directed with Hamy Ramezan, won Best Narrative Short at Tribeca. „I am not a Witch“ is her feature debut.

Filmography

  • I Am Not a Witch (2017)

Schedule

18.11.2017
18:00 - 19:35
Tallinn, 
Coca-Cola Plaza
Hall 8
Screening code: 020504
Sold out
25.11.2017
15:30 - 17:05
Tallinn, 
Coca-Cola Plaza
Hall 10
Screening code: 090701
Sold out
Screenings with guests might end later than expected.

Programme

Panorama
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Film info

Countries: United Kingdom, France, Zambia
Year: 2017
Duration: 95 minutes
Language: English
Director: Rungano Nyoni
Producers: Juliette Grandmont, Emily Morgan, Titus Kreyenberg Juliette Grandmont, Emily Morgan, Titus Kreyenberg
Writer: Rungano Nyoni
DOP: David Gallego
Montage: Yann Dedet, George Cragg, Thibault Hague
Composer: Matthew James Kelly
Cast: Margaret Mulubwa, Henry Phiri, Nancy Mulilo
Productions: Clandestine Films, Soda Pictures, Unafilm
Festivals: Cannes, Sydney, Melbourne, Toronto, London, Busan

Synopsis

Director

After a minor incident involving spilt water, nine-year-old Shula (Margaret Mulubwa) is denounced as a witch, and removed from her village community in rural Zambia. From there, she is taken to a government-run travelling witch camp, in this arresting first feature from Zambia-born, Wales-raised Rungano Nyoni.

Like all the other women at the witch camp, Shula is bound to a white ribbon to stop her from flying away. She must spend her first night in a shed. If she cuts the ribbon, she will turn into a goat. If not, she must stay in the camp as a witch. The film crafts a framework of superstition and ritual, onto which is hung a vividly realised, if enigmatic portrait of a child’s life. Shula is collateral damage in a cottage industry which cynically markets local traditions.

It’s striking, sparse filmmaking. Cast with non-professionals, the story is approached with a kind of deadpan eccentricity. A declamatory delivery heightens the sense of matter-of-fact oddness. There’s humour too, at least in the first half of the film before the weight of her new life and responsibilities causes little Shula to fold in on herself.

Wendy Ide

Rungano Nyoni

b. Lusaka, Zambia) grew up in Wales. Her short films have been screened at festivals all over the world: „Mwansa the Great“ (2011) was nominated for a BAFTA, „Listen“ (2014), den co-directed with Hamy Ramezan, won Best Narrative Short at Tribeca. „I am not a Witch“ is her feature debut.

Filmography

  • I Am Not a Witch (2017)