Rafiki Movie Bags Top Awards in the US

  • Controversial film 'Rafiki', which was banned in Kenya, bagged two awards at the 23rd annual Twist; Seattle Queer Film Festival.

    Rafiki, which is a lesbian film, took home both of the festival's top awards for a narrative film, including the audience and jury awards. 

    These were the first awards given to Rafiki by a queer film festival, according to Three Dollar Bill Cinema, the organization.

    "We are thrilled that Rafiki won both the audience and jury awards for narrative feature and that we can bring further attention to this important, beautiful film from a country whose LGBTQ community faces rampant discrimination and fear of imprisonment," Ben McCarthy, the executive director of Three Dollar Bill Cinema, stated.

    Rafiki, the movie by Wanuri Kahiu failed to make the 2019 Oscars shortlist despite last-minute efforts to have it feature as a consideration for the Academy of Sciences and Arts in Hollywood.

    “It did not have the minimum required theatrical release time and a Red Carpet premiere event since it was premiered at a Community Hall,” read the statement 

    The statement further added that while it understood that movies were watched around the country in community facilities, it regrets that it is yet to get consent from The Academy to admit such parameters as compliance.

    The Rafiki crew had combined efforts with the Creative Economy working group led by Prof Kimani wa Njogu to have the movie be screened after it was banned by the Kenya Film Classification Board.

    “We must allow the artiste to express themselves just as scientists do,” Prof Njogu stated after a free screening at the Goethe Institute in Nairobi. 

    Wanuri Kahiu, the Rafiki director went to court and was last week granted a seven-day screening period by Justice Wilfrida Okwany.

    The nominees for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced by the Academy in January 2019.