LIYANA plays as part of the Art Theater’s Smart Kids 2019 series. Admission is FREE & open to All!
2017 | Aaron Kopp & Amanda Kopp | eSwatini/Qatar/USA | English and Siswati with English subtitles | 77 min | NR (recommended for ages 11+)
LIYANA is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who turn past trauma into an original fable about a girl named Liyana who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The film weaves her animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring tale of perseverance and hope.
Executive produced by Emmy-winner Thandie Newton, and produced by Oscar-winner Daniel Junge, LIYANA features innovative animated artwork by Shofela Coker and an original score by Philip Miller. Critically acclaimed as exquisite, a staggering feature debut, and one of the year’s very best, LIYANA has played at festivals around the world, including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight, and has won 35 jury and audience awards so far. The Sunday Times describes Aaron & Amanda Kopp’s directorial debut as, part documentary, part animation, and pure magic.
Content advisory: The character of Liyana must overcome many dangers in this story created by children, who have also suffered and endured many hardships in their lives. The film is very uplifting, with a happy and hopeful ending, despite references to AIDS, kidnapping, monsters and other dangers which are suspensefully, but never graphically presented in animated segments of the film.
“‘Liyana’ brilliantly masters the art of storytelling through children who didn’t need much of an imagination to bring that story to life.” — Lisa DeNeal, Black Girl Nerds
“A spirited testament to the power of creativity – not only as a source of strength and joy, but as a way to access buried emotions.” — Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter