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Kenyan film - Wanuri Kahiu’s Pumzi wins Cannes award

Lizz Ntonjira reported in “The Standard” that Wanuri Kahiu’s film, Pumzi, recently won ‘Best Short Film’ at the Cannes Independent Film Festival (CIFF), which runs simultaneously with the main Cannes International Film Festival. The film is based on a science fiction story of a botanist who risks everything to nurture a plant, 35 years after the ‘Water War’.

This is not the first time this young filmmaker has had this sort of recognition; she has received several awards and nominations for films she has directed, including the awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Picture at the African Movie Academy awards.  Her film, From a Whisper, won five awards out of the whopping 12 nominations it had received at the awards. She attributes her knack in this creative field to Raphael Tuju, who mentored her while she worked for his company, Ace Communications as an intern in 1996.

She emphasises that the whole process involved in making a successful film is solely dependent on team effort.  "Without the continuous support of the people you work with, you can have the greatest film but it will amount to nothing. So each award is another way of congratulating and thanking the cast and crew who were behind the project," she says.

Every concept of Wanuri’s films comes up as a result of a pet peeve or a reaction to an injustice. In Pumzi, her main message is that we need to take care of our environment.  "Soon, if we are not careful, Nairobi - the green city in the sun - will be Nairobi, concrete jungle in the sun," Wanuri told EveGal.

Besides getting recognition from the work she has done, Wanuri received a motion pictures of America Associates award and the Hollywood Foreign Press Award for distinguished director. Her work includes: The Spark that Unites (2006), Ras Star MNet New Directions (2006), From a Whisper (2008), For Our Land- MNET Great Africans Series (2009) and Pumzi (2009).

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