Mwansa the Great

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Mwansa the Great

Directed by Rungano Nyoni

  • Zambia, United Kingdom 2011; 23 min
  • Original version: Bemba
  • Genre: Short, Drama
    • Special Jury Mention - Curtocircuito IFF
    • Griot Best Short Film, RTVA Award - Tarifa African FF
    • Best Short Film, Best Directing, Best Editing - Naoussa IFF


An eight-year-old boy who aspires to be a hero embarks upon a journey to prove his greatness, with unexpected consequences. A moving insight into childhood where fantasy jostles with reality as a young boy’s imagination transforms and empowers everyday life.

Director's Statement

I wanted the film to reflect the bitter sweetness of growing up in Zambia, surrounded by immensely devastating things but in contrast living a pretty normal and fulfilled childhood. MWANSA THE GREAT deals with death through the children’s point of view. Mwansa, Shula and Lackie have recently lost their father. Innocently, they try and carry on his legacy though their imagination. Shula, the big sister, does this by playing Princess Shula, a nickname given to her by her father. Mwansa plays Mwansa The Great, also something his father used to call him. Lackie, plays with a doll their father made for her. I wanted to capture the importance of dreaming big despite adverse circumstances. Mwansa dreams of being reunited with his Dad again, through his imagination he does so and at the end of the film he gets what he wants.



    Rungano Nyoni