Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu, the recipient of the 'Spirit of Cinema' Award at the 28th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), emphasized the importance of supporting filmmakers from conflict-ridden regions. She believes that cinema can serve as a tool to inform the world about life in crisis.
Wanuri, who took her country's government to court for banning her film 'Rafiki' on the grounds that it promotes homosexuality, also underscored the significance of ensuring the safety of filmmakers and their works. She highlighted the risk that many filmmakers, including herself, face -- ostracism, bans, and persecution -- because their works address social issues in the region or capture the realities there with the camera. Wanuri called for the creation of a secure space for creative endeavours.
Hailing from Nairobi, Wanuri represents the emerging wave of African filmmakers, with her works earning global praise at various film festivals. With six films under her belt, she is currently engaged in crafting her second feature-length film.
When asked about her perspective on the future trajectory of African movies, Wanuri expressed her enthusiasm for the current state of African cinema. She highlighted noteworthy films released this year, such as ‘Four Daughters’ by a female filmmaker from Tunisia and ‘Mother of All Lies’ from Morocco, both contributing to the evolving landscape. According to Wanuri, the vibrant voice of African cinema is now embodied by female filmmakers, and she is thrilled about the direction it is taking.
Wanuri's films exude vibrancy and rich colours, and she emphasizes the importance of authenticity in cinematic choices, whether in storytelling or capturing the spirit of cinema. According to her, when filmmakers stay true to their story and the essence of cinema, audiences naturally appreciate the film. Drawing a parallel with India, Wanuri notes that the love, colour, and vibrancy in African landscapes are authentically natural. She points out that Africa's inherent vibrancy ensures that every camera turn, whether capturing fabrics or backgrounds, reveals a spectrum of colours.