Wanuri Kahiu has experienced great success in the Kenyan Film industry. Her first feature film From A Whisper, which was based on the real events surrounding the 1998 Kenya and US bombing attack won Best Narrative Feature in 2010 at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, as well as five awards at the African Movie Academy Award, including Best Director and Best Screenplay.
Her project, Rafiki – a queer love story film released in 2018, premiered at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the Queer Palm. The film had been temporarily banned in Kenya.
Wanuri has made her Hollywood directorial debut with Netflix movie, Look Both Ways, which debuted on Netflix on August 17th.
The dramedy follows college student Natalie (Lili Reinhart), who has sex with her ‘bestie’ guy, uses protection but surprisingly she gets pregnant. She takes a pregnancy test on the eve of her college graduation and after the positive result of the pregnancy , her life diverges into two parallel worlds: one where she stays in Texas and becomes a young mother, and the other in which she isn’t pregnant and moves to L.A. to pursue a career in animation.
Talking about the film in a recent interview, she said that most young women experiences are similar, despite where they come from.
Wanuri said that she loved the script because the storyline is relatable.
I felt it was partially my life, in the sense that I remember the exact moment I realized I was pregnant and how I literally saw my life take a parallel route”.
I believe in parallel lives and multiple existences, and it really appealed to me.”WANURI KAHIU
Speaking to the Golden Globes about what attracted her to the project, Wanuri Kahiu further explained ,
“It is an incredible story about women’s resilience. On the one hand, it is a story about a young mother. A young single mother, who is trying to figure out how her life works and how she pursues her passion. On the other hand, it is a story about a young artist doing everything that she can to get a break in the industry that is so hard to get into as a young woman. On both sides, it is about women striving for excellence and that is what drew me to it. Either through motherhood or artistry, it is about women striving for excellence. That is the most important thing and that is the big takeaway and why I wanted to be part of the project.”
Two days after its Netflix debut, Look Both Ways is currently the most watched movie on Netflix in Kenya. The cast includes Lili Reinhart as Natalie, Danny Ramirez as Gabe, Aisha Dee as Cara and others.