I Am Not A Witch revolves around a nine-year-old girl, Shula, who is accused of witchcraft. Shula is the first child to be taken to a travelling witch camp, where she is tethered to a spool with a ribbon. She is told that should she cut the ribbon and attempt to escape, she will be cursed and transformed into a goat. Over time Shula begins to long for freedom. Forced to decide whether to accept her fate as a witch, Shula ignites a rebellion within the camp.
The subject and intention of my film evolved after spending a particularly dry summer in Zambia where there were several news reports of women being accused of witchcraft – including my neighbour. And so the idea grew from there. I deliberately wanted to have a more absurd tone in the film – mainly because the more I researched the material, the more bizarre and almost comical it became. I went to North Ghana to research witch camps. I stayed in a witch camp in Kpatinga – with 75 older women living there. I spoke to a woman who had been accused of witchcraft. She had been accused by another woman who had simply dropped a bucket of water on her way back from the well and blamed her for it… It’s sort of funny and tragic at the same time.
Director: Rungano N yoni
Producers: Clandestine Films (France), Soda Pictures (United Kingdom)
German WCF partner: unafilm (Germany)
World sales: tvc
Funded in the WCF Jury meeting in July 2016
Funding amount: 50,000 €