ABOUT THE FILM
LIYANA is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who turn past trauma into an original tale about a girl named Liyana who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The film weaves her animated journey together with poetic documentary scenes to create an inspiring story of perseverance and hope.
Executive produced by Emmy-winner Thandie Newton, and produced by Oscar-winner Daniel Junge, LIYANA features innovative animated artwork by Shofela Coker and an original score by Philip Miller. Critically acclaimed as exquisite, a staggering feature debut, and one of the year’s very best, LIYANA has played at festivals around the world, including the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and MoMA’s Doc Fortnight, and has won more than 35 jury and audience awards so far. The Sunday Times describes Aaron & Amanda Kopp’s directorial debut as, part documentary, part animation, and pure magic.
Running Time: 1 hour 17 minutes | Rating: Ages 11 and up
“Brilliant…The world desperately needs to see more stories like this” – SHADOW AND ACT
“Gorgeous…Unlike any documentary you’ve ever seen before” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
“Part documentary, part animation, pure magic” – SUNDAY TIMES
Aaron Kopp – Director & Producer
Aaron Kopp is an award-winning filmmaker and national Emmy-nominated cinematographer who grew up in the Kingdom of Swaziland. Aaron shot and co-produced the Academy Award-winning documentary about acid attacks in Pakistan, Saving Face. He was also cinematographer for the Academy Award-nominated Sundance film, The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on college campuses. He has worked across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, North America, and the South Pacific on films for HBO, Netflix Originals, National Geographic, Discovery, UK Channel4, CBS, CNN, and PBS. Aaron was awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Doha Film Institute for his feature directorial debut, Liyana, which has won 35 awards at international festivals including the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the LA Film Festival and the Knight Documentary Achievement Award.
Shofela Coker – Animation Artist
Shof Coker is an Illustrator/Art Director born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He has been living in the US since 2005 and has worked in video games as a character designer for studios such as Sony and Activision and at Jam City as an art director. He art directed the animated documentary Liyana, which has won several awards including best documentary at the LA Film Festival and grand prize at the New York Children’s Film Festival. He is currently working on an original graphic novel called Outcasts of Jupiter.
Susan MacLaury – Moderator
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Shine Global Susan was a Executive Producer of Liyana. She also has Executive Produced the Emmy Award®-winning, Academy Award®-nominated documentary War/Dance, the Academy Award® Winner Inocente, The Harvest (La Cosecha), 1 Way Up in 3D, and The Eagle Huntress. She is also the producer of The Wrong Light and Virtually Free. Susan is in charge of the educational outreach and social advocacy efforts for all of Shine Global’s films. She is https://antibioticspro.com dually degreed in social work administration and health education and was associate professor of health education at Kean University from 1994 through 2013.