Teneille Craig

Thandie Newton

Teneille Craig
Thandie Newton

Thandie Newton

ACTRESS, PRODUCER

Zimbabwean and English actress Thandie Newton has dominated the silver and small screen for decades, leaving us lasting performances in movies that provoke intense racial commentary (Beloved, Crash), to television shows that imagine what technology will do to the future (Westworld). Every role, thought-provoking, every project, impactful. And in her role as a producer, she doesn’t falter. In 2018, the actress produced the animated/documentary film Liyana (Oct. 2018) to critical acclaim. The beautifully shot and sketched project tells the tale of Liyana, an orphan whose parents die from AIDS, while weaving animation into the lived experiences of five Swazi orphans who are featured in the film. “A story like Liyana touched a chord in me,” Newton told Newsweek last fall. “They needed money to finish it, but they also needed a guide to bring it into mainstream media. I was delighted to be that person for them.”

More than that, Newton wanted to inspire a generation affected by the horrors and loneliness HIV/AIDS causes. According to the CDC, “Swaziland has the world's highest estimated prevalence rate of HIV-infected adults (26 percent of people aged 15-49).”

“Through gaining power in Liyana’s narrative the children are able to overcome the things in their own lives: AIDS, violence, survival in the elements. These are real obstacles that these kids have had to overcome,” she said. “It’s completely normal for them.”