Screened as part of NZIFF 2018

Liyana 2018

Directed by Aaron Kopp, Amanda Kopp For All Ages

Affecting and uplifting, this beautiful hybrid of documentary and animated fiction tells the story of a young girl as imagined by a group of orphaned Swazi children. Recommended for audiences 10+

Swaziland In English and siSwati with English subtitles
77 minutes DCP



Amanda Kopp
Aaron Kopp
Daniel Junge
Davis Coombe
Sakheni Dlamini


Aaron Kopp


Aaron Kopp
Davis Coombe


Shofela Coker


Philip Miller


Gcina Mhlophe


Los Angeles, London 2018


Square Eyes

A group of children living in the Likhaya Lemphilo Lensha home for orphans are led through a workshop process by author Gcina Mhlophe. Together they dive into their collective imaginations to create Liyana, a brave heroine who undertakes an epic adventure, outsmarting many a dangerous animal and even more dangerous humans along the way. A beautifully crafted, genre-defying exploration of fable as a source of creative healing and strength, Liyana is an inspiring collaborative project where children’s courageous voices are given centre stage. — NM

Liyana is a thrilling, beautifully-illustrated fictional tale of a young girl on a perilous quest to reunite with her brothers. At the same time, it’s a compelling documentary following the lives of five amazing children from an orphanage in Swaziland. Together with their wonderful storytelling teacher, these bright and captivating youngsters transform their difficult experiences through narrative to collectively craft Liyana’s tale.” — NY International Children’s Film Festival

Please note: while sensitively handled, this film deals with challenging family histories and the ongoing impact of HIV/AIDS in Africa.