Country: Qatar, Swaziland, USA
Running Time: 77min
Film Year: 2017
Category: Knight Documentary Achievement Award
Within the walls of Swaziland’s Likhaya Lemphilo Lensha orphanage a great adventure is unfolding. Guided by South African storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, the children of Likhaya Lemphilo Lensha are collectively conceiving the story of Liyana, a heroic Swazi girl who faces harrowing obstacles on her journey to recover her stolen brothers.
Winner of the Los Angeles Film Festival’s documentary award, Liyana fuses handsomely photographed live-action footage with riveting animation, alternating between scenes of young imaginations at work and scenes that bring their story to life. Drawn from the children’s personal experiences with abuse, abandonment, and robbery, Liyana’s journey is ferociously fraught. Yet it’s also inspiring: for every terror overcome Liyana grows stronger, propelling her to find safety and forge a whole new family.
Director: Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp
Producer: Amanda Kopp, Aaron Kopp, Daniel Junge, Sakheni Dlamini, Davis Coombe
Executive Producer: Thandie Newton, Susan MacLaury, Albie Hecht, Lisa Schejola Akin
Music: Philip Miller
Cinematographer: Aaron Kopp
Editor: Aaron Kopp, Davis Coombe