German director Katja Benrath: from film student to Oscar nominee

9 February 2018


Director Katja Benrath has been nominated for an Oscar for her award-winning short film, “Watu Wote: All of Us.” She spoke to DW about the universal message of her film, the Me Too movement — and Hollywood’s good side.”Watu Wote” (Kiswahili for “we all”) tells the true story of an attack by Islamist al-Shabab militants on a bus in northern Kenya in December 2015. As the attackers tried to separate passengers according to their religion — in an effort to kill only the Christian passengers — the Muslim travelers refused to reveal the identity of the Christians. The film’s key protagonist is Abdiwali Farrah, a teacher who stood up to the militants and later paid with his life.

Katja Benrath’s vital telling of these real events was her final work at the Hamburger Media School. It has gone on to win 60 prizes, including a Student Oscar and an Oscar nomination for best short film. The young filmmaker — the only female director to receive an Academy Award nomination in her category — spoke to DW shortly before she departed for Los Angeles about her decision to make a film about terrorism in Africa, her embrace of the Me Too movement as a female filmmaker and potential recognition on Hollywood’s biggest stage. Read the full interview on Daily News Egypt here.