And the winner is . . .
The U.K.’s official submission for Best Foreign Film for this year’s Academy Awards is I Am Not a Witch. The movie, now on DVD from Film Movement, from the Zambian-born Welsh director Rungano Nyoni, is a striking satire about witchcraft in contemporary Zambia.
When nine-year-old 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 on the camp, or take a risk for freedom.
At times moving, often funny and occasionally surreal, I Am Not a Witch offers spellbinding storytelling with flashes of anarchic humor, showcasing Nyoni as the birth of a significant new screen voice. Festival audiences and juries also agreed, bestowing more than 20 nominations on the film, including the AFI Fest Audience Award and a BIFA nod for “Best British Independent Film”.