One of the standout science fiction films at this year's Sundance Festival is Wanuri Kahiu's short Pumzi, set in Kenya of the future, after water wars have decimated humanity. With its African futurist look, this could be another District 9.
Pumzi was produced by Simon Hansen, who also produced the short film Alive in Joburg that became feature District 9. Kahiu told Wired that the movie was influenced by classic 1950s films and the African "tradition of tapestries and functional art." You can see the trailer for the movie here:
The movie is about a scientist who discovers a seed that is germinating, and wants to investigate the Earth's surface to see if other plant life is growing again.
She lives in a repressive culture that tries to dismiss her discovery, and refuses to let her do further research. I love how these costumes and sets recall the look and feel of George Lucas' 1970s dystopian flick THX-1138.
Its wide-open spaces and rich red and brown palate also remind me of Dune, which is of course another movie about what the lack of water does to an entire planet. Unfortunately the movie isn't available online yet - Kahiu says her production company Dada Productions doesn't have access to a good place to host the film. But here's hoping it will wind up online soon, and that we'll get to see a feature from this filmmaker whose flare for the visual is incredible - and whose original storytelling offers us a glimpse of the future as seen through Kenyan eyes.