I Am Not a Witch

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I Am Not a Witch
I Am Not a Witch.png
British release poster
Directed byRungano Nyoni
Produced byJuliette Grandmont
Emily Morgan
Written byRungano Nyoni
StarringMaggie Mulubwa
Music byMatthew James Kelly
CinematographyDavid Gallego
Edited byGeorge Cragg
Yann Dedet
Thibault Hague
Release dates
  • 25 May 2017 (2017-05-25) (Cannes)
  • 20 October 2017 (2017-10-20) (UK)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
France
Germany
LanguageEnglish
Nyanja

I Am Not a Witch is a 2017 British-French drama film written and directed by Rungano Nyoni in her feature debut film. It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival and won the BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Nyoni and producer Emily Morgan at the 71st British Academy Film Awards.[1][2][3]

Plot

In Zambia, an 8-years old girl is sent to a witches' camp after a banal incident at her local village.

Cast

  • Maggie Mulubwa as Shula
  • Nellie Munamonga as Police Officer
  • Dyna Mufuni as Leader
  • Nancy Murilo as Charity

Production

Writer-director Rungano Nyoni was inspired by actual stories of witchcraft accusations in Zambia. In her research for the film, she traveled to Ghana and spent time in a real witch camp, observing her daily life and rituals.[4][5]

Reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 100% based on 28 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10.[6] Mark Kermode from The Observer gave the film four out of five stars, praising Nyoni's work, David Gallego's cinematography and Mulubwa's performance and wrote: "Rungano Nyoni’s debut feature, the story of a girl in Zambia accused of witchcraft, is comic, tragic – and captivatingly beautiful"[4] Jessica Kiang from Variety magazine, also praised Gallego’s cinematography and stated: "Nyoni’s approach may itself be a little too chaotic, and a little too oblique to be fully comprehensible (in particular her counterpointing music cues can overreach, and some of the narrative ellipses confuse). But in the investigation of the dichotomies of ancient and modern, familiar and alien, prosaic and mystical, she clearly has a great deal she wants to say, and now, thanks to this invigorating, intriguing and provocative debut, she has a whole career ahead of her in which to say it".[7] Anna Smith writing at Time Out gave I Am Not a Witch four out of five stars, calling it a "impressively, debut writer-director Rungano Nyoni makes this heady mix work".[8] Stephen Dalton from The Hollywood Reporter called the film "A winningly original and stylistically fresh debut feature from the young Zambia-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, I Am Not a Witch is one of the more buzzy premieres screening in the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes. A fable-like story about a young African girl banished from her village for alleged witchcraft, it blends deadpan humor with light surrealism, vivid visuals and left-field musical choices".[9]

Accolades

"I Am Not a Witch" gathered several wins and nominations in many important film festivals and film awards, including a win at the 71st British Academy Film Awards for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer and 10 nominations and three wins at the British Independent Film Awards 2017.[10]

Award Subject Nominee Result
BAFTA BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer Rungano Nyoni Won
Adelaide Film Festival International Feature Film Award Rungano Nyoni Won
Foxtel Movies International Award Rungano Nyoni Won
AFI Fest Audience Award Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Africa International Film Festival Best Feature Film Rungano Nyoni Won
Mumbai Film Festival Special Mention Rungano Nyoni Won
British Independent Film Awards 2017 Best Director Rungano Nyoni Won
Breakthrough Producer Emily Morgan Won
Douglas Hickox Award Rungano Nyoni Won
Best British Independent Film Nominated
Best Actress Maggie Mulubwa Nominated
Best Screenplay Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Best Debut Screenwriter Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Best Cinematography David Gallego Nominated
Best Costume Design Holly Rebecca Nominated
Best Make Up & Hair Design Julene Paton Nominated
Best Music Matthew James Kelly Nominated
Best Production Design Nathan Parker Nominated
Best Sound Maiken Hansen Nominated
Cannes Film Festival Caméra d'Or Rungano Nyoni Nominated
CPH:PIX New Talent Grand PIX Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best International Film Rungano Nyoni Nominated
London Critics Circle Film Awards Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker of the Year Rungano Nyoni Nominated
London Film Festival First Feature Competition Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Filmfest München Best Film By An Emerging Director Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival Best European Fantastic Feature Film Rungano Nyoni Nominated
Stockholm Film Festival Best Directorial Debut Rungano Nyoni Won
Best Film Rungano Nyoni Nominated

References

  1. "Fortnight 2017: The 49th Directors' Fortnight Selection". Quinzaine des Réalisateurs. Retrieved 20 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Elsa Keslassy (19 April 2016). "Cannes: Juliette Binoche-Gerard Depardieu Drama to Kick Off Directors Fortnight". Variety. Retrieved 20 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Rungano Nyoni 'outstanding debut' Bafta for I Am Not A Witch". BBC News. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Kermode, Mark. "I Am Not a Witch review – magical surrealism". The Observer. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Aftab, Kaleem. "I Am Not a Witch director on the modern persecution of witches in Zambia and Ghana". The Independent. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "I AM NOT A WITCH (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Kiang, Jessica. "Cannes Film Review: 'I Am Not a Witch'". Variety. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Smith, Anna. "I Am Not a Witch". Time Out. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Dalton, Stephen. "'I Am Not a Witch': Film Review - Cannes 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Awards". IMDB. Retrieved 22 February 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links