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Wanuri Kahiu

“My first concern is making films for and about Africans; films that celebrate the

people, the traditions and the land that are the life-source of art and culture.”

Wanuri Kahiu’s passion for film started at 16, where she worked with Ace

Communications on a documentary about FGM (Female Genital Mutilation). At Ace

she learnt how to tell educational and entertaining stories about the issues affecting

cosmopolitan East Africa. From that point on, Wanuri would spend any available

time interning in entertainment companies locally and internationally, and managed

to work as a Production intern at Pinewood Studios, London, a Production Assistant

in Alexandria Productions, Virginia and as a Director’s Intern at Paramount Studios,

Hollywood, during the production of Italian Job directed by F. Gary Gray.

After attending UCLA’s Master program in Film Directing, Wanuri’s professional

debut was directing a behind-the-scenes documentary The Spark that Unites

(2006) for the film Catch-A-Fire (Universal Films/ Working Title) directed by Phillip Noyce, starring Derek Luke and Tim Robbins.

Wanuri honed her filmmaking skill with her first Kenyan film Ras Star (2007), a short film based on a teenage artist trying to make it into a talent show despite all odds. The film was produced for M-Net, Africa’s largest digital satellite channel.

In 2008, Wanuri completed her first feature film From A Whisper based on the real life events surrounding the August 7, twin bombings of US Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998. From A Whisper won awards at the Africa Movie Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture. It also won the Golden Dhow award for Best East African Picture at Zanzibar International Film Festival .

As part of their flagship series The Great Africans, M-Net commissioned Wanuri to direct a documentary about the life of the late Nobel peace Prize laureate Dr. Wangari Maathai entitled For Our Land (2009).

Wanuri’s sci-fi short Pumzi attracted funding and distribution from Focus Features (part of NBC universal), Goethe Institut and the Changa Moto Fund.

Wanuri continues her quest to unravel her vision and is interested to partner with global filmmakers of who share her passion for telling positive African stories.






Reflection (2005)
Ama’s Mama (2005)
The Spark that Unites (2006)
Ras Star (2007)
From a Whisper (2008)
Pumzi [Air] (2009)
For Our Land (2009)



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