Episode 016

Rungano Nyoni

You can achieve anything! There is no reason for you not to.

May 13, 2018

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Episode Overview

“You can achieve anything!  There’s no reason for you not to.” – Rungano Nyoni

Zambian filmmaker Rungano Nyoni has achieved the seemingly impossible.  Her first Directorial feature film ‘I am not a witch’, which she also wrote, made it’s debut at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last year. 

The film, which is a satire about a nine-year-old girl accused of witchcraft in Zambia, has gone on to play at every major film festival; and has won several awards, including a BAFTA for ‘Outstanding Debut’.  The film has also won ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Feature Film’, ‘Best International Film’ and ‘Best Directorial Breakthrough’ awards.

But Rungano didn’t set out to be a filmmaker – she actually studied for a Masters degree in acting before deciding she preferred being behind the camera and not in front of it.  Since making that decision, Rungano has written and directed 6 short films.  

Rungano sat down with me at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to talk about filmmaking and the challenges of being a black woman in the industry.

what you’ll learn in this episode

  • What inspired Rungano to become a filmmaker
  • How she came up with the subject of her first feature film
  • What it takes to make a feature film
  • Some of the challenges she faced in making the film
  • What it’s like being a black female filmmaker
  • What advise she’d give to anyone thinking of a career in filmmaking
  • What inspires Rungano
  • The meaning of Rungano’s name, and how it foreshadowed her career 
  • What brings Rungano the most joy
  • What Rungano’s ‘I am’ is


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