I Am Not a Witch wins Outstanding Debut BAFTA

Welsh-Zambian writer-director Rungano Nyoni took home the trophy at Sunday’s ceremony.

The present-day African drama about beliefs in witchcraft beat other excellent British films including Lady Macbeth and The Ghoul to win the award for Outstanding Debut By a British Writer, Director Or Producer at this year’s BAFTAs. Nyoni accepted the award alongside producer Emily Morgan.

Congratulating the team, Pauline Burt, Chief Executive of Ffilm Cymru Wales said “Here at Ffilm Cymru Wales we’re all so proud of Rungano, Emily and the whole team who made I Am Not a Witch. They’ve created a compelling and original film, that is both beautiful and a film that has says something to say – not least about women in the world. 

Rungano’s unique voice, as a filmmaker deeply connected to both Wales and Zambia, brings a world view that we wouldn’t see elsewhere and she draws out an amazing performance from the film’s young lead, Maggie, who was just 8-years old at the time.

After such early success, we’re excited to see what’s next in Rungano’s promising future and to continue to support her in that journey.”

I Am Not a Witch revolves around a nine-year-old girl – Shula - who is accused of being a witch. As she navigates through her new life, she must decide whether to accept her fate or risk the consequences of seeking freedom.

Following its premiere at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight last year, I Am Not A Witch went on to be selected for the Toronto, London and Sundance film festivals, and won three British Independent Film Awards (Best Breakthrough Producer, Best Director and Best Debut).

Rungano Nyoni was born in Zambia and raised in Cardiff, Wales, which remains her home. Before making her feature debut, she made several short films, including BAFTA Cymru winner The List, and was supported from an early stage by Ffilm Cymru Wales through the BFI NETWORK Wales emerging talent fund. The film's other financiers include the BFI, Film4, Aide aux Cinémas du Monde (CNC-Institut français), the Berlinale’s World Cinema Fund and HBF+Europe: Minority Co-Production Support.

I Am Not a Witch is currently available to buy on DVD and Blu-ray through Curzon Artificial Eye.