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This Zambian Filmmaker Won a BAFTA for Her Debut Film 'I Am Not a Witch"

The filmmaker say her win "was a real big shock."

"I Am Not a Witch," a Zambian film about a nine-year-old girl, played by Maggie Mulubwa, sentenced to exile at a witch camp, earned the award for Outstanding debut at the 2018 BAFTA's.

Zambian-born filmmaker, Rungano Nyoni, who moved to wales at the age of 9, expressed genuine shock over the win. "I was waiting for my category to go so I could go to the toilet," said Nyoni afterwards. "It was a real big shock."


The film is heralded for bringing attention to an often overlooked issue that affects various young women on the continent. For research for the film, Nyoni spent time at a "witch camp" in Ghana, reports BBC Africa. We featured the film on our list of 16 films by black directors to check out at Sundance this year.

A review of the film from Sundance reads:

Writer/director Rungano Nyongi's deft directorial instincts unfurl this tale of interconnected vignettes in true mythological fashion, pointedly and with playful vigor. Gorgeously photographed and performed with resolute confidence, Nyongi's astounding work layers satire and social critique into a richly textured and refreshing take on institutional subjugation, and the film resonates with earth-shattering power.

Nyoni spoke to Deadline last week about the film, and she offered practical advice for aspiring filmmakers.

You know what? People are always gonna give you advice about what you ought to do. But for me, the only thing that will ever work, which trumps everything, is just to work hard. They'll always tell you, "Do this, go there, go to film school." But I didn't go to film school. They say, "You've got to network." But I hate networking. I never did it. I found my own way and got there. And I just think hard work really overrides everything. Because I'm not connected, nothing. I just put in all the hours. You have to just put in the hours, I think.

It's clear that her hard work certainly paid off.

Watch the trailer for "I am Not a Witch" below. Congrats to the young filmmaker!

Interview

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