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Two Kenyan filmmakers join the prestigious Oscar Academy


Two Kenyan filmmakers Toni Kamau and Wanjiru Njendu have been hand-picked by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to join the ranks of voting members.

The two follow in the footsteps of fellow Kenyans Lupita Nyong’o, Wanuri Kahiu, and Judy Kibinge who have since joined Hollywood’s most prestigious club.

This is the fourth year in a row that the institution has broken its own record after inviting 928 new members last year.

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The two are among 819 film creators from various countries across the world who were invited to join the club this year.

Kamau is a content producer with over ten years’ experience producing content for global broadcasters including Al Jazeera, BBC World, and MTV Europe while Njendu is an award-winning film director based in Los Angeles, California.

“I am sitting here crying because as of today I am beyond honored 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,” said Ngendu after receiving the news.

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On her part, Kamau stated: “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.”

As members, the two will enjoy the privilege of voting across categories at the Academy Awards.

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has more than 9,000 members and has been pushing for diversity and wider representation over the past few years following backlash over the high number of white nominees in the 2016 Academy Awards.

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