Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, renowned for the lesbian love story Rafiki, has signed with The Gotham Group, which has produced such projects as The Spiderwick Chronicles and The Maze Runner franchise.
“Wanuri Kahiu is a prodigiously talented and brilliant woman,” said Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, founder and CEO of The Gotham Group. “As an advocate for Africans, especially young women, Wanuri has established herself as a major cultural force. That she refused to edit Rafiki in any way to avoid the Kenyan ban is a testament to Wanuri’s courage and commitment to her creative vision.”
Besides Rafiki, Wanuri has shot other award-winning movies like her 2008 feature From a Whisper, which was based on the real events surrounding the bombings of the US Embassy in Nairobi, for which she wrote the screenplay. The movie went on to win multiple awards at the Africa Academy Awards, including best director and best picture.
Her short sci-fi film, Pumzi, which she wrote and produced, is a haunting parable about a world without water. It screened at Sundance in 2010, won the Venice Film Festival’s “Award of the City of Venice,” and was named best short film at Cannes in 2010.
In an interview with Deadline.com, Wanuri said, “In our difficult times, and I say this despite the serious themes in much of my work, I also believe film — and television — needs images of joy and frivolity as well. My hope is that the whole dimension of the human spirit, in Africa and around the world, be reflected in my work.”
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Despite being the first Kenyan movie to premiere at the Cannes, where Kahiu and her crew received a standing ovation, it is banned in Kenya by the films classification board.
Story by Elizabeth Ngigi/The Star