Two Kenyan filmmakers inducted into coveted Oscars Academy

Toni Kamau
Toni kamau, a producer inducted into the Oscars Academy. [Photo courtesy]

Two Kenyans, Toni Kamau and Wanjiru Njendi are the newest members to join the prestigious Oscars Academy.

They join Hollywood star, Kenyan-born Lupita Nyong’o who was inducted years ago. 

So far, the Oscars Academy has three Kenyans – Lupita, Wanuri Kahiu and Judy Kibinge.

Kamau and Njendi are among 819 producers and artists inducted into the academy in line with its A2020 initiative which is giving opportunities to more women from underrepresented communities.

“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” stated Academy President David Rubin on Wednesday.

Kamau has over the years produced high-flying factual documentaries such as I Am Samuel and Softie.

Njendu, on the other hand, lives in Los Angeles and is the brains behind the film titled Boxed which has received international recognition.

She has also produced a documentary, Safari ya Jamhuri which details the fight for Kenya’s independence from the British Government. In the feature, she focuses on Mau Mau veterans.

Kahiu was inducted into the academy following the release of her controversial film, Rafiki released in 2017 while Kibinge who was inducted into the Oscars Academy released Something Necessary in 2013.

Njendi could not hide her joy in being inducted into the academy; she wept.

“I am sitting here crying because as of today I am beyond honoured to say I am a new member of The Academy opening the email eight hours before my birthday. This little girl who came from Mombasa to be a director in Hollywood is a member of the academy,” she posted on social media.

Kamau thanks thanked global filmmakers for recognizing his work.

“So excited to be invited to be a member of The Academy and grateful for the support from the global community of filmmakers that use stories to change the world love to Kenyan members,” stated Kamau.