ACMI presents

I Am Not A Witch

M Mature themes

Session Times

See all sessions Scroll to content

“It's rare and exhilarating that a new filmmaker arrives on the scene so sure of herself and so willing to take bold, counterintuitive chances.”

Jessica Kiang, Variety

A satirical brew of superstition and scapegoating, straight from Cannes Directors’ Fortnight.

If you’re female in Zambia, even witnessing another’s bad luck can be cause for condemnation. For nine-year-old Shula, it means being branded a witch, sent to a camp and given two options: she can accept her new label and live the rest of her life tethered to a white ribbon, or get turned into a goat if she seeks justice and freedom.

Inspired by real-life rural witch camps in Africa, Rungano Nyoni makes the leap from BAFTA-nominated short filmmaker to assured feature writer/director with a funny, eye-opening effort. Never following the expected path, her full-length debut both exposes and finds the utter absurdity in an archaic practice that continues to subjugate women, as captured in lyrical detail by cinematographer David Gallego (Embrace of the Serpent).

Opening night panel: Real Magic

After the screening on Thursday 19 April, join Candy Bowers, Santilla Chingaipe and Sista Zai Zanda as they navigate the film’s major themes and discuss Black feminism, youthful femininity, witchcraft and magic across African cultures.

Candy Bowers

Candy Bowers is an award-winning writer, actor, social-activist, comedian and producer. The co-artistic director of Black Honey Company, Candy has pioneered a fierce sub-genre of hip hop theatre that delves into the heart of radical feminist dreaming.

Born of multi-racial South African parents and raised in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, her life experiences have created a unique foundation to build her body of work upon. A poet, playwright and speaker from an early age in 2001 Candy was accepted into the Bachelor of Dramatic Arts - Acting course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Since then she has gone on to build her own company, star in sketch comedy, perform on Australia’s main-stages and tour the country a with original works including: Sista She, Australian Booty, MC Platypus, Who’s That Chik? and Hot Brown Honey. This year you can also catch her on the small screen in Newton’s Law (ABC/Netflix) and in the next comedy series from the makers of The Katering Show (ABC/Netflix.) Candy is currently working on an anthology of Australian monologues for Actors of Colour, Twelve – a soul musical from the streets (after Shakespeare's Twelfth Night) and One the Bear – a fairytale for the hip hop generation.

Santilla Chingaipe

Zambian-born Santilla Chingaipe is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. She spent seven years working for SBS World News, which saw her reporting from Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia and interviewing some of Africa’s most prominent leaders. She reports extensively on Australia’s diverse African community and recently presented a one-off documentary for SBS, Date My Race, which aired in February. Santilla is currently directing and producing documentary on the complexities of Australia’s South Sudanese community.

Sista Zai Zanda

Sista Zai Zanda is a storyteller, educator and radio producer. She has facilitated poetry and storytelling workshops in Australia, Zimbabwe and Denmark.  In 2011, she founded Stillwaters Storytelling Collective, a platform for diverse women’s voices led by Black African women. Stillwaters performed at the Emerging Writers Festival, the Big West Festival, La Mama Theatre and the Light In Winter Festival.  Currently, Zai hosts and curates the Pan Afrikan Poets Café, the home of new, cutting-edge and classic Afrikan literature. This is a pop up literary event for stories by and about Afrikan and First Nations’ storytellers. Zai established the Pan Afrikan Poets Café in 2015 with the intention to celebrate Africa’s rich literary legacy and diverse storytelling traditions while showing love and respect for First Nations peoples. Since 2015, Zai has spoiled audiences in Melbourne and Sydney with over 100 performances by Afrikan, First Nations and Pasifika artists. Recently, she co-produced a Pan Afrikan Poets Café event, #BlackGirlMagic at the Arts Centre Melbourne and it sold out in less than 5 days bringing a highly diverse audience to Australia’s largest performing arts venue. One of Zai’s career highlights from Africa is curating and programming the Youth Arts Zone for one of Africa’s top ten international arts festivals, HIFA (the Harare International Festival Of The Arts).  Zai’s latest publication, God Is A Black Womban, is a Black Feminist text that is rooted in a long tradition of Afrikan Women’s naked protest. God Is A Black Womban is also available for download as a poem set to Reggae/Dub music at

Session times