Wanuri Kahiu

Wanuri Kahiu is a Kenyan film director, writer and producer. She is also the Managing Director and co-founder of DaDa Productions.

She wrote, directed and produced From a Whisper, a compelling movie revolving around the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy building in Nairobi that received 12 nominations and won in five categories at the 5th African Movie Academy Awards in 2009.

She is best known for her short film Pumzi, a science fiction film about the devastation surrounding water shortage.

She has also worked on a series of local and international movies including Still Life, The Italian Job, Catch a Fire, The Spark That Unites, Reflection, Ama’s Mama, Ras Star and For Our Land.

Kahiu has received several awards and nominations including awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the African Movie Academy Awards.

Her movies tend to lean towards Afrofuturism, a telling of African stories with a futuristic bent. She has often expressed her disappointment that most films about Africa are overly skewed towards negative stories that portray Africa as a dark and barbaric continent.  Her Sci-Fi stories are usually set in a parallel universe but remain highly relatable.

Her films have earned a unique place globally, having been screened in festivals such as the Berlinale and Sundance. Not surprisingly, in 2010, she was among several female film directors invited to London’s Bird’s Eye View film festival.

Kahiu was named on the Quartz African Innovators list together with Nigerian-American film producer Nnedi Okorafor in 2016 for their feature-length animated film titled The Camel Racer.

She is at the forefront of changing the prevailing narrative and retelling African stories through African eyes.

Her 2018 film Rafiki exploring homosexuality in a homophobic society though banned in Kenya premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and the 2018 London Film Festival.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in Management Science from the University of Warwick and a Master’s in Fine Arts (Directing) from the School of Film and Television at the University of California.

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