User Reviews (7)

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  • This is a movie that is compelling and beautifully done. As a skilled storyteller works with orphaned children that have survived trauma in Swaziland, they create a story of Liyana as the heroine. Her journey matches many of the experiences that the children have already survived and you can almost feel their resilience growing as they create their own ending. The illustrations are beautiful and are interspersed with the documentary part of the film. And all is woven together with some beautiful music.
  • Liyana is a beautiful documentary that not only educates people about epidemics that are occurring in Africa, but gives a creative animated story created by children featured in the film.

    Liyana is about five Swaziland orphans who, under the guidance of storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, create their own fictional character that embarks on a journey to save her brothers. The story directly correlates to the struggles they are experiencing and their own dreams. The character they create, named Liyana is fully animated throughout the film.

    This film is one that everyone needs to watch. Sometimes, we get so caught up in our own lives and take a lot of things for granted. This film highlights the struggles of these orphaned African children. Some of them don't even remember anything about their parents. The film really open your eyes to an unfamiliar place and allows you to connect on a personal level with some of their struggles. This documentary is not intended to pity the children in any way, but to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. I find these children completely inspiring, because they are prepared to do anything to make their dreams come true. They live their lives everyday with happiness and passion.

    The animation is quite unique in many ways. It is very still and the characters rarely move. It's a very interesting way to animate. I have never seen anything quite like this. It's intriguing to see the subtle movements of the characters and the subtle sound effects in the background. The orphans that the film revolves around are storytellers of the film. I love hearing them express the characters. They occasionally make sounds to portray the weather such as thunder and then make sounds representing actions of the animated character Liyana. Overall, the sound and music in this film feels quite lively and upbeat. The music brings a huge cultural aspect to the film because the lyrics are in their native tongue. The music is quite beautiful and expresses African heritage.

    This film takes you on a whirlwind of emotion. People hear about horrific events on the news, but don't really find a personal connection to the struggles that people around the world face. This film provides a personal account on how children deal with disease and family issues. By show the audience real people dealing with their struggles, this film can help spread the word about people around the world needing help and teach us that their problems are not just something to flip through as you change TB channels.

    Definitely put this film on your watch list. It deals with some harsh topics such as disease and abuse, but it does so in a sensitive way. I recommend this film for ages of 12 to 18, as well as adults. The story is fascinating and the realness of the film gives usinsight into the lives of African orphans. I give this film 5 out of 5 stars.

    Reviewed by Talia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.
  • Liyana is one of those rare films that you can't put your finger on because is it a cartoon, live action, a documentary, a fictional story, is it meant for kids, or adults, do I laugh, or cry... And it is everything, and so much more. Set in the beautiful country of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), the orphaned children build and transform their story of Liyana in ways the imagination and those with deep, challenging lives only can. The cinematoghraphy, the animations, the storytelling, and the precious, amazing children all make it a must see film.
  • This documentary shows how the power of storytelling and imagination can change the lives of many. I believe we are all natural born storytellers. The filmmakers did a great job giving a stronger voice to the protagonists of this story. I was captivated by the combination of real life events and the beautiful animations representing their fears and illusions.
  • maryameyer-592816 September 2018
    The combination of animation with real people as actors is powerful and effective. I was lucky to have experienced this transporting work of art during the Miami Film Festival--rich, rich, rich, in so many ways. A mind-bending combination of talents at work here. Cutting-edge without trying to be; the whole production feels defined by a palpable honesty. Impressive.
  • A beautifully woven story that not only educates but moves the emotions as the three young protagonists are compelled to make their journey along with their creation, Liyana.

    A powerful psychological story that illustrates, in a beautiful manner, how children, assisted by their wise mentor, are discreetly shown how to cope and come to terms with awful tragedy. Seldom is such a powerful message and cathartic journey illustrated on film, refreshing.

    The weaving of animation and score into the tapestry of story is ingenious. Certainly worth viewing for both children and adults alike.
  • ajl-070025 October 2018
    Fabulous cinematography and animation. Inspiring story.