The Kenyan director Wanuri Kahiu has sued KFCB for banning her film Rafiki, seeking to see the ban lifted so that it can be considered for the Oscars.
According to the Kenya Film Classification Board, the movie, which is based on a lesbian love story, was too risqué and had to be banned because of its strong homosexuality theme.
The lawsuit has been filed against KFCB demanding a change to the law that has been used in recent years to ban several other films from being showcased in the country including ‘Fifty Shades of Grey”, saying the ban is a violation of freedom of speech.
She also wants Ksh 8.5 million shillings as compensation after losing on different sponsorship deals and projected sales and distribution.
“If this matter is not certified urgent and heard on a priority basis, it would be rendered nugatory because Ms Kahiu’s film would be left out of the competition,” her lawyers Waikwa Wanyoike and Sofia Rajab-Leteipan said.
September 30th is the deadline for submission for Oscars nominations but she needs first to get the ban lifted. In order to be eligible for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the movie must have been shown in the country. She skipped this step, choosing to focus on the international market.
Speaking to the international press, Kahiu said that she doesn’t see herself as an activist despite the fighting, she just wants creatives to have their space.
“I don’t necessarily consider myself an activist; I truly consider myself a storyteller,” Wanuri said on Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival, where the film premiered in North America on Thursday.
“But when somebody starts to infringe on your rights to be creative and exercise your work, which becomes a problem. That’s when we decided to push back and take the Classification Board to court,” she was quoted saying.