Aaron Kopp: Liyana is a film that gives our young storytellers the stage. We hope the audience will be enchanted by the children’s imaginations in the same way that we are. We believe this film will play a role in deconstructing stereotypes and challenging the prevalent, simplistic narrative of African orphans. Liyana pays tribute to my childhood in the Kingdom of Swaziland.
Amanda Kopp: It was important to me that we approach the story as artists not limited by a genre. The documentary scenes are often lyrical and at times even dip into fantasy. And although the fictional and real-life stories are set against a backdrop of devastation caused by HIV/AIDS, this was not the children’s primary focus, nor ours. At its heart the film is a celebration of the transformative power of storytelling.