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I Am Not a Witch film image; sad girl alone

Rungano Nyoni crafts a satiric feminist fairy-tale set in present-day Zambia. When 9-year old orphan Shula is accused of witchcraft, she is exiled to a witch camp run by Mr. Banda, a corrupt and inept government official. Tied to the ground by a white ribbon, Shula is told that she will turn into a goat if she tries to escape. As the only child witch, Shula quickly becomes a local star and the adults around her exploit her supposed powers for financial gain. Soon she is forced to make a difficult decision – whether to resign herself to life in the camp, or take a risk for freedom.

Accused of witchcraft and cast out of her village, Shula is thrust into a satirical journey that acts as a critique of capitalist exploitation and the co-opting of traditional practices and ways of being as a tool for its enforcement. Community acts as a space for freedom and also the origin of neglect, and Shula is thrust into these ongoing shifts, forced to deal with sexism, child abuse, and manipulation inflicted on her by those who are supposed to protect her.

Fegor Obuwoma, …to glimpse: African Cinema Now! curator

Possibly the year’s most audacious film debut, I Am Not A Witch has won numerous awards, including Britain’s BAFTA for best first feature, and to see it is to understand why… Written and directed by Zambian-born, Wales-raised Rungano Nyoni, this smart and savage satire is impressive for the way it joins a dramatically involving story with a Swiftian tale of human society in general and Africa culture and customs in particular… Beguiling… wickedly smart.

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

For all its factual grounding, I Am Not a Witch is also a work of fairytale invention, unravelling the threads of its quasi-mythical narrative with anarchic aplomb… Margaret Mulubwa is a mesmerising screen presence, her stoical countenance broken occasionally by a radiant smile that lights up the landscape.

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Beautiful and unsettling…It is a remarkable, strange and politically potent first film.

Michael O’Sullivan, The Washington Post


Media Partner

Community Partner


Rungano Nyoni


Maggie Mulubwa, Henry B.J. Phiri, Nancy Mulilo, Margaret Sipaneia, Gloria Huwiler

Country of Origin





In English, Bemba, Chewa and Tonga with English subtitles


Outstanding Debut, BAFTA

93 min

Book Tickets

Wednesday May 29

7:30 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
Book Now



Rungano Nyoni


David Gallego


George Cragg

Art Director

Malin Lindholm

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