By B.J Phiri

The lineup for the Directors’ Fortnight at this year’s Cannes Film Festival has been announced and will include feature I Am Not a Witch.

Backed for development and production by the BFI Film Fund’s Network programme, it’s the first feature by director Rungano Nyoni.

” I Am Not a Witch” tells the story of a nine-year-old girl growing up in an African village who is exiled to a witch camp in the desert and told she will turn into a goat if she attempts to escape.

Born in Zambia and raised in Wales, and a graduate of Central St Martins, Nyoni previously featured in Directors’ Fortnight with the short film Listen (2014),which she co-directed with Hamy Ramezan. Her short film The List (2009) was a BAFTA Cymru winner, while The List (2011) was also a BAFTA nominee.

Filmed in Zambia, “I Am Not a Witch” was shot by Embrace of the Serpent cinematographer David Gallegos.

The film is produced by Emily Morgan of Soda Pictures Ltd, who is the winner of a BFI Vision Award, and Juliette Grandmont of Clandestine Films.

“For me this is a very big achievement for me as an individual and also the Zambian film industry at large”.

“The Cannes film festivals are a big platform for any actor, director, producer or any one associated with the creative industry. It provides for us to show case our country’s diverse culture and opportunities that have or may not have been fully explored”.

“This could not have come at a better time than now, when government is trying to put up creative industry policies meant to steer up the industry.”

“It is an opportunity for job creation and subsequently, poverty reduction. It is working in Ghana, Nigeria, India and the Philippians. It will surely work here. All we need now is capacity building initiatives and tax Weavers on film and creative industry equipment and materials”.

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