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GIFFONI FILM FESTIVAL 2018 - 20.28 july

Sections & Films


Category: Edition 2018

Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives, but Kena and Ziki long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, Kena and Ziki will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.

Original Title RAFIKI
Category Official Competition
Section Generator +16
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 82'
Production Year 2018
Nationality France, Germany, Kenya, Lebanon, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa
Directed by Wanuri Kahiu
Screenplay Wanuri Kahiu, Jenna Bass
Based on the novel "Jambula Tree" by Monica Arac de Nyeko
Director of photography Christopher Wessels
Editor Isabelle Dedieu
Production Design Arya Lalloo
Costume Design Wambui Thimba
Main cast Samantha Mugatsia
Sheila Munyiva
Jimmi Gathu
Nini Wacera
Dennis Musyoka
Patricia Amira
Neville Misati
Produced by Steven Markovitz

 regista Wanuri KahiuWANURI KAHIU
Born in Nairobi, Wanuri is part of the new generation of African storytellers. Her stories and films have received international acclaim. In 2008, Wanuri completed her first feature film FROM A WHISPER, based on the real life events surrounding the twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. The film won awards at the Africa Movie Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture, the Golden Dhow award at Zanzibar International Film Festival and Best Film at Kalasha, Kenya Film and TV awards. Her short Science Fiction Film PUMZI (2009) - that was partially funded by Focus Features, Goethe Institut and Changa Moto Fund in Kenya – was screened at Sundance in 2010 and won the Best Short award at Cannes Independent Film Festival and the Città di Venezia Award at Venice International Film Festival. Wanuri was named a TED Fellow in 2017 and World Economic Forum cultural leader in 2018. RAFIKI is her second feature film.

Director’s statement
I was in my late teens when I first saw a film about young Africans in love. Before that, I had never seen any Africans kiss. I still remember the thrill, surprise and wonder and how the film disrupted my idea of romance. Before then, affection was reserved for foreigners, not us. To imagine that it was normal for Africans to hold hands and kiss on screen was astonishing. Years later, when I read “Jambula Tree” by Monica Arac de Nyeko I was caught off guard again. As a romantic, I had to bring to life the tender playfulness of the girls in “Jambula Tree” and as a filmmaker, it was vital to show beautiful Africans in love and add those memories to cinema. Rafiki means friend in Swahili, and often when Kenyans of the same sex are in a relationship, they forgo the ability to introduce their partners, lovers, mates, husbands or wives as they would like, and instead call them “rafiki”. Making a film about two young women in love challenges the larger human rights issues associated with same sex relationships in East Africa. Over the past 5 years of developing this film, we have seen worrying developments in the anti-LGBTI climate in East Africa. Local films and international TV shows have been banned because of LGBTI content. This has muffled conversations about LGBTI rights and narrowed the parameters of freedom of speech. My hope is that the film is viewed as an ode to love, whose course is never smooth, and as a message of love and support to the ones among us who are asked to choose between love and safety. May this film shout where voices have been silenced.


Big World Cinema
(South Africa)

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