ZIO MWALE, Lusaka
AFTER winning numerous international awards and getting close to 20 nominations, critically-acclaimed movie I Am Not a Witch will finally premiere in Zambia at Ster Kinekor, Manda Hill this weekend.
Since its’ premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May last year, the movie by the Zambian-Welsh writer and director Rungano Nyoni, has gone on to do well at various festivals. Yet, the Zambian film freaks are yet to have a close up of the movie.
If the way they reacted to Black Panther is anything to go by, then they should be trooping to Ster Kinekor this weekend.
The cast is equally excited that the movie will finally be making its’ Zambian premiere.
Henry BJ Phiri, a member of the cast, told the Weekend Mail that Zambians should look forward to seeing the movie that has made headlines across the world.
“Finally, our movie is home, everything about the movie is local, and it is a very touching movie that shouldn’t be missed, if I was given a chance, I would play my role again,” Henry, who is also National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia (NATAAZ) general secretary, said.
The movie tells a story of an eight-year-old Shula who turns up alone and unannounced in a rural Zambian village, forcing the locals to be suspicious. A minor incident occurs and it escalates to a full-blown witch trial, where she is found guilty and sentenced to live on a state-run witch camp.
There, she is tied to a long white ribbon and told that if she ever tries to run away, she will be transformed into a goat. As days pass, Shula begins to settle into her new community, but a threat looms on the horizon.
Soon, she is forced to make a difficult decision; to resign to live on the camp or take a risk for freedom.
The film, which is now rated as the most successful movies to have come of Zambia, has catapulted Rungano to international stardom.
Rungano, who was brought up in Cardiff from the age of eight, is also known for her work on the award-winning Mwansa the Great (2011).
But it is her work on I Am Not a Witch that has announced her as a filmmaker to look out for.
It is a low-budget film made with funding from organisations including Ffilm Cymru and the British Film Institute (BFI), and it was the first Zambian film to be shown at the Cannes film festival.
The film recently won a BAFTA [British Academy of Film and Television Arts] for outstanding debut.
ZIO MWALE, Lusaka