In its review of Liyana, the Hollywood Reporter noted that the fable-within-a-documentary reverberates with the hard-won celebratory ring of firsthand experience. One might think that the odds against it were long: not only does it deal with such grave subjects as AIDS, alcoholism, kidnapping and rape, but it does so from the viewpoint of children who live at an orphanage in the Southern African nation of Swaziland, where they’re working with a storyteller to create a tale about a young girl's quest to save her twin brothers from kidnappers. The youngsters’ creation comes to life in beautiful animated sequences that husband-and-wife directors Aaron and Amanda Kopp weave through their documentary footage to form a magical and moving whole.
For this panel, moderator Robert Denerstein will take a case-study approach that allows the filmmakers to explain how the project originated, how it was funded, how it was shot and what challenges were overcome to produce the work that festival audiences are now seeing. This is a rare opportunity to trace the evolution of a film from beginning to completion.