New African Film Makers: Wanuri Kahiu

Yesterday I skyped with Wanuri Kahiu, a Kenyan filmmaker. The audiofile is here. In our interview we spoke about the self-conception of African fim makers, why it is necessary to have alternatives to Nollywood, we spoke about the art of film making, why the arts are so important in Africa and what their impact is on society. Further more we were thinking about why the arts have been completely banned from the African school curriculum – a sad story …

Kahiu was born in Nairobi, Kenya. After graduating from the University of Warwick in 2001 with a BSc degree in Management Science, she enrolled for a Master’s Degree at the ‘Masters of Fine Arts’ programme in directing at the School of Film and Television at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Her movie “From a Whisper” received a total of twelve nominations and earned five awards at the 5th African Movie Academy Awards in 2009. Her latest film “Pumzi” is a science fiction short film. It was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of its New African Cinema program. The project was funded with grants from the Changamoto arts fund, as well as from the Goethe Institut and Focus Features’ Africa First short film program which are also to distribute the work. Kaihu hopes to expand the short into a full-length feature. It also won several awards, including Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2009.