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Ashland Street Cinema Monday, April 16, 2018 - 10:10 AM  add this block to your calendar
Documentary Feature
77 minutes
Director(s): Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp
Qatar, Swaziland, USA
An uplifting and inspiring blend of documentary and animation, Liyana is a film born in the imaginations of five orphaned children in Swaziland. The HIV/AIDS crisis has ravaged the population there, leaving many children vulnerable and without parents. The children are introduced to acclaimed South African storyteller Gcina Mhlophe and with her create the fairytale, Liyana, about a Swazi girl who embarks on a dangerous quest to save her young twin brothers. The fairytale—and the film—is brought to life through vivid animation, charming narration and interviews with the children, and moving scenes of their daily life that reverberate throughout Liyana’s fictional adventure. Subtitles 
Directors’ Statement
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.
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