Film writer and producer, Wanuri Kahiu has sued the Kenya Films Classification Board and its boss Ezekiel Mutua for banning the film Rafiki.
Together with a lobby group, Creative Economy Working Group, Ms Kahiu filed a suit urging the High Court to temporarily lift the ban so they could submit the movie for an International Award.
Wanuri would like to submit the movie for the 2019 Oscars Award as Kenya’s entry to the Best Foreign language film category, but the ban in Kenya does not allow them to do that.
Entries for nominations of the said award close by September 30, 2018.
Her lawyers, Waikwa Wanyoike and Sofia Rajab- Leteipan are seeking for the petition to be certified as urgent so they could get it in time to submit for the international award nominees.
“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,” the lawyers noted.
Through the petition Wanuri seeks to be compensated KSh8.5 million from the loss of projected sales from theatrical distribution of Rafiki in the country as well as loss of sponsorship.
They also seek for the Kenya Films Classification guidelines 2012 to be declared illegal by the High Court.
The movie Rafiki premiered in Cannes Film Festival, earlier this year. It was the first Kenyan movie to ever premier at the festival.
Although it was banned in Kenya over claims that its content promotes same sex relationships, that did not stop the movie from being appreciated around the world and by international film producers.
The film was adapted from the short story Jambula Tree by Uganda’s Monica Arac de Nyeko, which won the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2007.
The Petitioners claim that the ban contravenes their freedom of expression through art and creativity in film production.
“Allowing KFCB’s decision to abide at this stage would render the question of constitutionality of the restriction academic thus defeating the administration of justice,” the lawyers said.
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