Magazine article Variety

Wanuri Kahiu 'Independent Cinema Is a Challenge'

Magazine article Variety

Wanuri Kahiu 'Independent Cinema Is a Challenge'

Article excerpt

Wanuri KAHIU made a splash with her Sundance sci-fi short "Pumzi," a haunting parable about a world without water. Her LGBT love story, "Rafiki," which premieres today in Un Certain Regard, was banned in her home country just after it became the first Kenyan film selected by Cannes. Kahiu talks about the importance of being a fun and frivolous African filmmaker.

CHRISTOPHER VOURLIAS

It took seven years to bring this story to the screen. Why was it so difficult?

I think independent cinema is a challenge in this day and age. But this subject in particular, many people didn't want to offend African governments by putting money into it.

Were you surprised that Kenyan authorities banned "Rafiki"?

We had hoped for an 18 rating, and while we weren't surprised, it was still unexpected. Especially because [the film board] had spoken so highly about it the week before.

In spite of the ban, do you think Kenyan society is starting to change its opinion about LGBT rights? …

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