I Am Not a Witch

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Zambia | 2017 | 93 minutes | Rungano Nyoni

A nine-year-old Zambian girl is thrown into a witch camp, part prison part tourist attraction, after she's blamed for a woman spilling a bucket of water in this visually arresting surrealist drama.

Shula, a nine-year-old Zimbabwean girl, is accused of being a witch after a woman blames her for tripping and spilling over a water bucket. After going through the local magistrate, Shula is sent to a witch camp. A human zoo of sorts, the witch camp is a rickety-fence prison where the "witches" are tethered to spindles to prevent their flying escape. Meanwhile, tourists gawk and ogle from the outside with excruciating obliviousness. After being tattooed on the forehead, Shula is shopped around by the camp director Tembo as a thief identifier and magical egg producer. Without any powers to speak of, the due process of law is outweighed by belief and superstition. Although she has no spoken lines, Shula commands attention and empathy with a thorough performance by young actress Margaret Mulubwa. Engrossing cinematography enshrines her silence with a sense of wonder throughout the entire film, her plight darkly absurdist but ultimately humanizing. Part-anthropological dissection, part-social satire, I Am Not a Witch is a genre-splicing tour de force from first-time director Rungano Nyoni.

Director Biography
Zambia native Rungano Nyoni is a graduate of Central Saint Martins School of Drama in London. After a short stint of acting in three films during her studies, she recognized that her passion lies behind the scenes. Since 2009, she has directed five short films and a highly acclaimed first feature in I Am Not a Witch, which is set in her home country and shares Zambian culture with audiences worldwide.

Sponsored by Seattle Met, Red Element Studios

  • Director: Rungano Nyoni
  • Principal Cast: Margaret Mulubw, Henry B.J. Phir, Nancy Mulilo, Margaret Sipaneia, Gloria Huwiler
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: Zambia, France, United Kingdom
  • Year: 2017
  • Running Time: 93 minutes
  • Producer: Juliette Grandmont, Emily Morgan
  • Screenplay: Rungano Nyoni
  • Cinematographers: David Gallego
  • Editors: George Cragg
  • Music: Matthew James Kelly
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: BAFTA 2018 (Best British Debut), Africa International Film Festival 2017 (Best Film), Stockholm International Film Festival 2017 (Best Directorial Debut)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: English, Nyanja
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Film Movement
  • International Sales: Kinology