Just back from her historic trip to the Cannes International Film Festival, where her feature film Rafiki was received to great acclaim – despite having been banned back home here in Kenya – Wanuri Kahiu sits down with Kahawa Allstars to give us the two minute low-down on what it felt like to be the first Kenyan director to be screened at this most influential of international film festivals.
What beats faster: your heart after three cups of Kenyan coffee, or your heart when you are getting a standing ovation at Cannes?
LOL….. getting a standing ovation at Cannes!
You can only eat one type of breakfast for the rest of your life: French or Kenyan?
Mombasa Coastal Breakfast any day…. it’s the bomb!
Baguette or chapati?
Chapati all day every day
Best dish of the Festival week?
When I got home and got to eat something home cooked.
How proud did you feel seeing the stars of your film so well received?
Sam and Sheila [Samantha Mugatsia and Sheila Munyiva are the stars of the movie] were amazing, they were getting stopped on the street by people because they were loved so much. It was absolutely incredible to see them shine.
Number of different outfits you packed for the festival?
I had an amazing stylist called Lucy Robi who helped me with all of my clothing needs. Let’s just say, I had enough!
The person who made you feel the most starstruck
I was completely 100% starstruck by Ava DuVernay [Cannes Judge and Director of “A Wrinkle in Time”]
I was in awe that she was in the audience watching Rafiki with us. That was amazing, I can’t even describe the feeling.
The most “Wakanda” moment
Standing in front of the audience introducing the film and seeing that Ryan Coogler was there and was giving us a Wakanda sign.
The secret to surviving an International Film Festival
Friends, friends friends. They make
you happy, they help you shine, they make you show up. Amazing.
All the Kenyan designers: Embody Accessories and Kipato Unbranded; Deepa Dosaja was just amazing and we wore some stuff by Designing Africa that was the most beautiful. I’m so grateful for Kenyan creative talents.
What’s the takeaway?
Be open, willing and available for everything that you work hard for. The idea that it takes ten years to be an overnight success is true. You need to work and then you need to be ready.