Directed by Aaron Kopp & Amanda Kopp
Swaziland/Qatar/USA | 2017 | 77 min


Children under 13 years old must be accompanied by an adult

Saturday, March 30, 2019
 2:00pm @ Rangos Giant Cinema, Carnegie Science Center

Buy tickets here!



  • Q&A moderated by LaTasia Greene, a student speaker from The Reel Teens of Pittsburgh, Steeltown Entertainment Project
  • Food Reception

CO-SPONSORED BY: Remake Learning, CMU's CAUSE & Carnegie Science Center


“As tough as the subject matter may get at times, the film is guaranteed to be an uplifting one for viewers of all ages, with its emphasis placed on the joy of its subjects, whether it be in their everyday life or in the midst of their creative process.”
– Matt Fagerholm,

Under the guidance of acclaimed South African storyteller, Gcina Mhlophe, a group of orphaned children in the Kingdom of Swaziland confront past trauma through the collaborative creation of their own fictional story depicted through vivid animation. Their young heroine, Liyana, must embark on a dangerous quest to save her brothers after their home is violently attacked and her siblings are stolen away. Confronting painful memories, profound insights are revealed as the children shape Liyana’s mythic journey and parallels are drawn between her fate and that of the young storytellers. Named one of the Best Family Movies of the Year by HuffPost, LIYANA is for storytellers of any age.

Watch the trailer here.


  • Ashland Independent Film Festival, 2018, Feature Length Documentary
  • Bahamas International Film Festival, 2017, Best Film
  • BendFilm Festival, 2017, Best Film, Best of Show
  • Black Film Festival Montreal, 2018, Best Animated Feature
  • Denver International Film Festival, 2017, Documentary Film, True Grit Award
  • Heartland International Film Festival, 2017, Documentary Feature
  • Los Angeles Film Festival, 2017, Best Documentary Feature
  • Miami Film Festival, 2018, Best Documentary
  • Montclair Film Festival, 2018, Special Jury Prize
  • New York International Children's Film Festival, US, 2017, Feature Film


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 film, THE HUNTING GROUND, about sexual assault on college campuses. Aaron was awarded grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the Doha Film Institute for his feature directorial debut, LIYANA.

Amanda Kopp is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer, and artist. She was producer and cinematographer for the short film, LIKHAYA. She also filmed for the Academy Award-winning documentary, THE HUNTING GROUND. Amanda’s photographic work has been published in the UK, US, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Pakistan, and Italy. For her feature directorial debut, LIYANA, she was awarded funding from Shine Global and Fork Films and was the recipient of the 2018 Emerging Female Filmmaker Award from the Oxford Film Festival.