“Homosexuality is not unafrican; what is unafrican is homophobia”

Interview of Olivier Barlet with Wanuri Kahiu on Jambula Tree

How is it for you to be part of the Fabrique des Cinémas du Monde here at the Cannes Film Festival? It’s such an honor being as part of the Cinémas du monde Pavilion a second time. It’s a privilege because I didn’t think that I would be invited back. This time, the program is much more devoted to developing projects than before, with the huge emphasis on projects and development, and finding coproducers or sales agents, even writing residencies. Are you followed by professional and talented people? Yes, in different areas: producers, sales agents, distributors who you pitch your project to. It’s a very firm foundation for figuring whether your script works first and foremost. And we had the honor of meeting Raoul Peck, who was the godfather for the Fabrique this year, and could go through the projects and give us candid one to one advice on how to improve the project. This is fantastic. And also facing conversations about whether or not the film is commercial, if it has legs, because often you start a project and you don’t know, because you are in isolation. We met people who give us feedback and people who are interested in working with us to develop the project: it’s something that you cannot find in Kenya. Your producer is Steven Markovitz in South Africa : why not a producer in Kenya? Steven was my executive producer on Pumzi, my short film. After that, I really wanted to work with him and I remember, I was in Berlin at the festival, and I asked him and he agreed. Thas was a blessing that we both thought that we can continue a relationship after. And because of our prolific years in working in different things, it was a great opportunity to team up. And I think that having two people of two different countries actually makes a project stronger, because it’s not just doing it: it feels importa...

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Jambula Tree
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