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Wanuri Kahiu, the director of the film “Rafiki,” stands by an art installation in Nairobi, Kenya, April 27, 2018 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

A Kenyan Director Made History at Cannes, but Kenyans Still Can’t Watch Her Film

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

NAIROBI—In late April, Wanuri Kahiu, the Kenyan filmmaker, was busy preparing to walk down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival in France. With just a week to spare, she needed to finalize arrangements with the fashion designers and stylists who would provide the various looks for the media whirlwind, as well as prepare for a barrage of meetings with other directors, producers and potential funders. For an independent filmmaker, Cannes has always been the premiere event for those hoping to get a film seen and sold. As the first Kenyan ever invited to screen a film there, Kahiu was anxious to have everything in order.

At the same time, on the other side of Nairobi, Ezekiel Mutua, the chairman of the Kenya Film Classification Board, or KFCB, was preparing to denounce as illegal the very film that Kahiu was traveling to the festival to promote. ...

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