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An incredible group of orphans in Swaziland dive into their imaginations to create their own modern African fairytale! Read more

Denver, CO Documentary
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This project was successfully funded on October 29, 2010.

An incredible group of orphans in Swaziland dive into their imaginations to create their own modern African fairytale!

Denver, CO Documentary
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About this project

*** REMINDER *** Our goal is the minimum that we will be able to do the production trip for. We will be facing ENORMOUS post-production costs when we return. So if you are moved to pledge, anything that we raise beyond our goal will go towards these costs.

Thanks for checking out our upcoming film project LIYANA! Find out more at: Like us on Facebook

Our Project: Liyana is a tale about a girl whose epic adventure will unfold alongside the real-life creative journey of an incredible group of orphans in the Kingdom of Swaziland. This feature-length film by award-winning director, Aaron Kopp, intertwines documentary elements with an original animated African fairytale, all brought together by the graceful lyricism of Gcina Mhlophe, the internationally acclaimed storyteller.

These children have limitless potential, and we are excited to give them the opportunity to learn from Mhlophe, such an inspirational South African woman. The project will provide a once-in-a-lifetime creative outlet for the kids that will benefit their self-esteem, critical thinking skills, and healing process.

LIYANA is now in production and we need your help to continue this important work!

Donating via this Kickstarter site is a wonderfully safe and effective way to be a part of the action. Remember, unless we reach our goal we don’t get a penny and of course you don’t get charged, so every little bit helps. All donations are tax-deductible. You can help make this film a reality! Please share the link with your friends AND their mothers!

Brief Summary of the Film: Liyana is a documentary film interwoven with an animated fictional narrative. The documentary portion follows an amazing group of orphans in Swaziland as they dive into their imaginations and create an original African fairytale. The journey story that they write will unfold in beautifully animated sequences. The creation of this epic myth will give us insight into how the children will overcome their past and re-envision their future as we wonder… “How will their story end?“

Concept Synopsis: The children, the non-fiction characters, live at New Life Homes, a self-sustainable, agriculturally based orphanage in Swaziland. The film provides an intimate experience of their lives and tracks the children as they move through a series of creative workshops. Under the supervision of Gcina Mhlophe, teacher and widely celebrated orator, they will shape their own personal myth. The narrative written by the children will combine the archetypal hero’s mythic journey (à la Joseph Campbell) with the rich tradition of Swazi folklore.

As the children develop their story, it will be carried out in whimsical and gritty animated sequences. Local Swazi artists, in partnership with a South African animation studio, will create the cutting-edge animation inspired by the children’s drawing and writing.

“Our heroine, Liyana, embarks upon a journey, a quest for all that she loves, through adventure and peril.”

At every new turn our fictional character, Liyana, will encounter fantastical animals, traditional healers, and perilous terrain. Then at the perfect moment of crisis, we return abruptly to the classroom as the children argue about how to move Liyana’s character forward. Eventually, by sheer perseverance, Liyana returns home after accomplishing her mighty task, and in the process, becomes a woman. Liyana’s epic journey will provide insight through the wild imaginings and experiences of these brilliant Swazi orphans.

“Soon they have to decide… yield to the past, or choose a brighter future.”

These children come from tumultuous circumstances; many have experienced devastating abuse, neglect, and loss. The writing process that this project provides will benefit the children, not only by affirming their artistic spirit, but also by raising their collective and individual consciousness. Our goal is to allow the children, inspired by their own life experiences, to begin a healing process and to take ownership of their cultural heritage and identity.

GET INVOLVED! This is an exciting one-of-a-kind documentary project that will ignite the potential of young Swazi orphans, challenge stereotypes, and promote art/creativity/storytelling. This group of children has deeply affected our lives, and as filmmakers we feel that we owe it to them to make this project happen.

But this costs money! We are striving to be as economically prudent as possible with our grassroots campaign. We believe strongly in this project and are pouring every ounce of our professional and creative energies into it. We need your help to make it happen. The Denver Film Society (a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit) is fiscally sponsoring us so all contributions go through them and will be tax deductible.

PRODUCTION PLAN: If, via Kickstarter, we are able to raise the necessary funds, our small and enthusiastic crew will be heading to Swaziland to begin shooting at the end of November 2010. We will meet up with Gcina Mhlophe and embark upon our creative journey alongside the children.

What will the money do? Your generous donations will be used to make this once-in-a-lifetime experience possible for the children at New Life Homes in Swaziland. The filmmaking process and the course of creative workshops are experiences that will have a life-long positive impact on the children and their communities.

The funds will cover: - Creative tools for the children (e.g., art material, and other class-related expenses) - Travel to Swaziland for our tight-knit production crew - Equipment and other production costs - A modest living stipend for Gcina Mhlophe and the crew during production in Swaziland.

Once this crucial first stage of production is complete, we will turn to broadcasting companies for animation and other post-production expenses. Donations beyond our Kickstarter goal are welcome and will be used towards these costs.

Every little bit helps. Please partner with us to make this film a reality. We thank you in advance for your donation!

If you have any questions at all, please ask, and you can find out more on our website: Love, The LIYANA Team

Aaron Kopp 720.323.5322


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    5 backers

    You'll get sincere gratitude from the LIYANA team! As well as Blog updates with production stills and videos of the film’s lovely stars and crew from

  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    18 backers

    You'll receive a hand-written Thank You postcard featuring the film’s title image. AND your name listed on the “Thank You” section of the film’s website (PLUS the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    29 backers

    Get a signed copy of Likhaya, Aaron Kopp’s award-winning short documentary about the orphans in Swaziland that inspired us to begin the production of the feature-length LIYANA (PLUS all the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    42 backers

    Your very own signed copy of the completed film LIYANA on DVD! AND a sweet limited edition movie poster (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    14 backers

    A special signed copy of the film LIYANA that includes hilarious behind-the-scenes footage and extras. AND an original print of beautiful animation art -8x10 (chose one of two) (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    29 backers

    Access to password-protected sneak peek and special behind-the-scenes footage. AND a “Special Thanks” in the film credits (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    7 backers

    Original print of beautiful animation art -11x14 (choose one of two) AND get an invitation +1 to be a part of a test audience rough-cut screening (travel and lodging not included) (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    Receive a lovingly hand-selected one-of-a-kind animal carving from Swaziland, chosen by us during the production trip. AND get a VIP invitation +1 to attend the finished film screening/Q&A session, and party, WOOHOO! (travel and lodging not included) (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $1,000 or more

    13 backers

    Associate producer credit in the film. Choose 3 original, signed Fine Art 11x14 prints by talented photographer, Amanda Kopp, from her series about the wonderful orphans in Swaziland, the subjects of the film, LIYANA, (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $5,000 or more

    0 backers

    Ultimate portrait session with photographer Amanda Kopp (see her work here: This photo shoot for a group of up to 5 people can be yours, or you may give it as a gift. Choose from fashion, headshots, or family portraits. She will make your photos beautiful and give you high-resolution images. ALSO meet up with the Director, Producer, and select crew members of Liyana for drinks and conversation (travel and lodging not included) (PLUS all of the above).

  • You selected
    Pledge $10,000

    0 backers

    Executive producer credit (solo title card) in the film!
    Private dinner with the Director, Producer, and select crew members. Aaron makes a mean curry!!! (travel and lodging not included). AND we will LOVE YOU FOREVER!!! (PLUS all of the above, which by now is a LOT).

Funding period

- (55 days)