Kenya is known for their amazing sportsmanship but not necessarily their aptitude for contributing to the science fiction genre. But that notion took a different turn almost 2 years ago thanks to the arrival of Pumzi, a futuristic tale from filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu.

The short film shows us the devastation of a civilization in a repressed state after the crippling effects of water wars. We encounter the survivors in East Africa trying to recover from the climatic turbulence in the midst of desolation and isolation. The heroine of the story ends up with a key ingredient that could change the course of humanity and as a result she becomes a target for the powers that be.

The film which was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of the New African Film Initiative is definitely an engrossing tale and an impressive effort by Kahiu, who along with her own production company Dada Productions, is committed to producing thought-provoking pieces, as opposed to the generic slideshows that are commonly released.

Focus Features provided the avenue for her to successfully fund the film through the Africa First short film program, the Goethe Institut and the Changamoto Arts Fund.

As grateful as she is for the support she still acknowledges the challenges that come with channeling the distribution network and hopes that one day soon Kenya will eventually catch up to Nigeria’s moviemaking machine, Nollywood.

Until then, she is focused on continuing her efforts to revitalize the film culture in her community. She also plans to extend Pumzi to a feature length film.

There is little doubt that Kahiu is poised to be a trailblazer in the film industry. She is definitely one to keep an eye out for!

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