In this documentary/animated film, a talented group of orphaned children in Swaziland collaborate to write an original African tale about Liyana, a girl on a dangerous quest. Inspired by the children’s darkest memories and brightest dreams, their fictional character’s journey reveals parallels between her fate and that of the young storytellers.
Produced in Association with Shine Global.

LIYANA is magic of the best kind

Unseen Films

Gorgeous. Liyana looks unlike any documentary you've ever seen.

Entertainment Weekly

A staggering feature debut

Awards Circuit

The standout film for me this year.


Visually enchanting

Awards Daily

A testament to the power of story.



Shadow and Act


We want to encourage young people to make their voices heard, and to unite their communities as they look for world-changing solutions within themselves. This shift in perspective will also apply to key players in the NGO world as they examine their own practices and help to increase respect and reduce stigma about the people they serve. Ultimately our goal is to use the power of storytelling to dispel misconceptions about vulnerable African populations from the outside, as well as improve the confidence in their own potential to help others and to make the world a better place.

Liyana has won over 35 festival awards around the world including:

Best Documentary at the 2017 LA Film Festival
Grand Prize at the 2018 NY International Children’s Film Festival
Grand Prize Heartland Film Festival 2017
Knight Documentary Achievement Award at the Miami Film Festival 2017


Directed by
Aaron Kopp and Amanda Kopp

Produced by
Amanda Kopp, Aaron Kopp, Daniel Junge, Sakheni Dlamini

Executive Producers
Thandie Newton, Susan MacLaury, Albie Hecht, Lisa Schejola Akin

Animation Artist
Shofela Coker

Bridget Pickering

Aaron Kopp

Davis Coombe

Philip Miller

Co-Executive Producer
John Caulkins, Abigail Disney, Gini Reticker

Gcina Mhlophe

Official Sites