Wanuri Kahiu's 'RAFIKI' Is the First Kenyan Feature Film To Premiere at Cannes Film Festival
The film is a combination of struggle and the power to dream and love.
This coming of age feature film set in Nairobi has been invited to premiere at this year's Cannes Film Festival—a first for Kenya.
RAFIKI (Friend), directed by Kenyan storyteller and OkayAfrica 100 Women honoree Wanuri Kahiu, tells a tale of a community affected by a relationship that grows between two young women, Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva).
Inspired by the 2007 Caine Prize Winning short story "Jambula Tree" by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko, the film celebrates love and asks whether it's safer being invisible or if it's better to defy conservative rules, while discovering one's identity and destiny through love.
"The love story resonated with Kahiu, who had the vision to change the setting to Kenya and place the film in a vibrant, present-day urban environment," the film states in a press release. "Kahiu worked with co-writer Jenna Bass and together they added further elements to the screenplay that speak to the present-day concerns and conflicts affecting people like Kena and Ziki even in young, vibrant, millennial Nairobi."
RAFIKI's supporting cast includes Jimmi Gathu, Nini Wacera, Patricia Amira and Dennis Musyoka. This is Kahiu's second feature film, with its coproducers Big World Cinema, Afrobubblegum (Kenya), MPM Film (France), Shortcut Films (Lebanon), Ape & Bjorn (Norway), Rinkel Film (Netherlands) and Razor Film (Germany).
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 8 through May 19.