ZIO MWALE, Lusaka
CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED movie I Am Not A Witch by Zambian-Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, won three awards at last week’s British Independent Film Awards (BIFA).
Rungano also became the first person since Anton Corbijn in 2007 to win both best director and best debut director for her magic-surrealist drama, whose producer Emily Morgan also received best breakthrough producer.
Francis Lee’s drama God’s Own Country, about a gay relationship between a Yorkshire farmer and a Romanian migrant worker, picked up best independent film as well as prizes in three other categories.
The film, based on its director’s own upbringing, beat competition from The Death of Stalin and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, to take home the award for best British independent film, along with a best actor award for star Josh O’Connor, while Lee was awarded best debut screenplay for his script. The trio of awards were added to the previously announced best sound award.
Dark period drama Lady Macbeth was the other big winner, picking up three awards to add to the already announced best cinematography and best costume design. Florence Pugh was awarded best actress for her role as a 19th-century woman who takes desperate measures to escape a loveless marriage, while the film’s screenwriter Alice Birch took home best screenplay and Naomi Ackie received most promising newcomer.
But I Am Not A Witch also made headlines.
The movie, about an eight year-old girl who is convicted of being a witch, was nominated in 13 categories including best director, breakthrough producer [Douglas Hickox], best actress [Margret Mulubwa], best Independent film [Rungano and Juliette), best screen play [Rungano], best makeup [Julene Paton] and best debut screenwriter [Rungano].
Others are best sound (Maiken Hansen) and best costume design (Holly Rebecca), best production design [Nathan Parker], best music [Matt Kelly] and best cinematography [David Gallegos].
Henry BJ Phiri, a member of the cast, says in a statement to the Weekend Mail that I Am Not a Witch has again been nominated in other two film awards scheduled before the end of this year.
The nominations are for film of the year and best supporting actor (Henry Phiri) at the Braddies Awards and The Independent Spirit Awards in America.
The Independent Spirit Awards are the biggest awards for independent films (films with a low budget) in the United States.
Since making its premiere at the Cannes in May, the movie has gone on to win best film at the Africa International Film Festival in Nigeria and best debut film at the Swedish Film Festival.