The lineup for the Directors’ Fortnight at this year’s Cannes Film Festival has been announced and will include the British debut 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 Gallego. 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.
“We are ecstatic that Directors’ Fortnight has embraced Rungano’s mesmerising film to provide the best platform for her imaginative and powerful voice,” says Mary Burke, Senior Production and Development Executive at the BFI Film Fund. “The BFI is proud to have backed a courageous new British filmmaker with the promise to be a bright shining star in the next generation of cinema.”
Directors’ Fortnight is an independent sidebar running alongside the Cannes festival showcasing a programme of international features, shorts and documentaries. Other filmmakers with films in the programme include Abel Ferrara, Philippe Garrel, Bruno Dumont and Tangerine director Sean Baker. The opening film will be Claire Denis’ Un beau soleil intérieur.