Kenyan feature film debuts at Cannes Festival

The filmmaker noted that making a film about two women in love that was set in Kenya was tough.

In line with its goal for gender parity, the International festival had released its catalogue of female filmmakers.

Out of 13 films on the line-up, six female filmmakers are featured, and Rafiki was the only Kenyan entry, making it the first time a Kenyan feature film would make it to the festival.

Rafiki filmmaker and creator Wanuri Kahiu described her film as "a story about all that is good and difficult about being in love so that for those fortunate moments we are lifted above our prejudices".

According to the film's press kit, Rafiki was inspired by the short story that won the 2007 Caine Prize: 'Jambula Tree', by Monica Arac de Nyeko, a coming-of-age story about two girls in love, set in Uganda.

The filmmaker noted that making a film about two women in love that was set in Kenya was challenging a deep-rooted culture of cynicism about same-sex relationships

She recalled the ant-gay campaigns that were ongoing in East Africa during the five years of developing the project.

Wanuri mentioned  Uganda's proposed "Kill the Gays" Bill, which called for the death penalty for all Ugandans found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality".

Rafiki is the story of friendship, love, loyalty and the aspirations of two young women, Kena and Ziki, whose families happen to be on opposing sides of the political divide.

This disparity is the basis for the struggles they must endure as they attempt to support each other in the pursuit of their dreams.

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