Tag Archives: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Win a Special Star Signed ‘HALF OF A YELLOW SUN’

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Win a Special Star Signed
‘HALF OF A YELLOW SUN’
Cinema Quad F
ilm Poster

HOAYS_QuadC_Final.bYes, you have a chance to win a specially signed poster for the UK release of ‘HALF OF A YELLOW SUN’, signed by Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, director  Biyi Bandele and author of the book from which the film is adapted Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Chewital EjiforBiyi +BandeleChimamanda Ngozi Adichie

To enter all you have to do is; GO SEE Half Of A Yellow Sun at your local cinema, take a SELFIE and then share it with us & the world on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #YellowSunSelfie!

We have two copies of the poster to give to you; if you have the best selfie – we will chose from our favourites selfies and let you all know!

So get snappy happy!

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Half A Yellow Sun – UK Première Ticket Competition on Vox Africa

Nigerian Movie Appears to Hit Nerve Over War

Written by Adam Nossiter
25/04/14

 

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DAKAR, Senegal — A Nigerian film dealing with one of the most searing episodes in the nation’s history, its civil war, and uniting some of Nigeria’s major cultural figures, has been effectively banned there, the film’s director said Friday evening.

“Half of a Yellow Sun,” based on an award-winning novel by one of the country’s leading writers, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was scheduled to open in Nigeria on Friday. But because the country’s film censorship board has refused to issue the movie a certificate, “it means essentially they have banned it,” the director, Biyi Bandele, said in an interview from London.

The film, which had its premiere last year at the Toronto International Film Festival, is already showing in Britain and is scheduled to open in the United States next month. One of its stars is Chiwetel Ejiofor, the Nigerian actor who also starred in the Academy Award-winning film “12 Years a Slave.” Last month, Ms. Adichie’s most recent novel, “Americanah,” won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

“Half of a Yellow Sun” takes place partly during Nigeria’s civil war, also known as the Biafran War, from 1967 to 1970, when southern provinces tried to secede. Between one million and three million people died in the conflict, many from starvation after the federal authorities blockaded the breakaway territory that called itself the Republic of Biafra.

BombsBlow_HOAYSThe war, and what preceded it, highlighted and intensified the country’s sectional and ethnic divisions. Thousands of Igbos — southerners — were massacred in the north; and then the federal forces, composed of westerners and northerners, embarked on a brutal scorched-earth campaign to suppress the Igbo uprising. The wounds from the conflict, during the country’s formative years just after independence, remain substantially unresolved.

How much so appears to underlie the refusal so far of the country’s authorities to allow Mr. Bandele’s film to be shown in Nigeria. The censorship board could not be reached for comment about the film Friday evening, but Mr. Bandele said officials seemed to be “jittery about its content.” He continued: “That it deals with the Biafran War. That it might incite people to violence.”

Even today a remnant of the old Igbo independence movement persists in the country’s south, which is largely Christian. And in the north, where Muslims are in the majority, many people attribute the Nigerian Army’s frequent large-scale killings of civilians, in its campaign against the Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram, to southerners’ lingering fury over their treatment during the long-ago war.

Biyi +Bandele

Biyi +Bandele

On Friday, Mr. Bandele denounced what he characterized as a blatant attempt to suppress discussion about a crucial if painful episode in Nigeria’s coming-of-age. “It is seriously shocking that someone would presume to be this arbiter of what Nigerians want and don’t want to see,” he said.
Mr. Bandele suggested that the war remains largely taboo in the country’s classrooms, making his film all the more important as a discussion point. “To say the way to heal is not to talk about it is disingenuous,” he said.
The civil war is the central episode in Ms. Adichie’s ambitious book, which is widely available in Nigeria. Yet the real subject is less the war itself than its formative stages — a sweeping portrayal of Nigeria’s nouveaux riches, pan-Africanist intellectuals, colonial remnants, and an increasingly belligerent officer caste. Mr. Bandele said his film was faithful to that orientation as well.Yet the large-screen portrayal of violence, at a time when real-life violence has dominated the country’s newspapers and airwaves, appears to have touched a nerve.

Nigeria is now traversing an especially unsettled and anxious period, with frequent killings of civilians by Boko Haram — a bombing in the capital, Abuja, last week killed at least 75 people — and the unsolved kidnappings of schoolgirls in the north.

“We went out of our way to reassure the government that we were not trying to stir up trouble,” Mr. Bandele said. “The ironies in this are just so many. It is just surreal.”

Adam Nossiter

This article first appeared in the New York Times 

 

Half of a Yellow Sun media coverage

For the last few weeks the Nigerian/British movie Half of A Yellow Sun has enjoyed massive media coverage. KUSH FILMS is proud to have played a part in bringing the stars of the film to London.  Above is a slideshow of the some of the stars and celebrities who attended the south London premier in Streatham. Scroll down to sample just some of the media coverage that the stars have enjoyed.

In this interview, star of the movie Chiwetel Ejifor speaks to the BFI about how personal the film was to his own family history, the representation of Africa in the media and working with Thandie Newton for a third time.

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Thandie Newton got a lot of love for her red carpet appearance at the South London premier, particularly impressing the tabloids by flaunting her slim figure so soon after having her third child last month.But a feature in The Daily Mail focussed more on Thandie’s difficult childhood growing up as part of the only Black family in the village, with her Zimbabwean mother Nyasha, and father white British Nick.The 41-year-old star of Crash, was born in London and spent the first three years of her life in Zambia, but grew up in Penzance where she has vivid memories of her family being bullied because of their race.  Thandie said she and her younger brother Jamie were the only black children in the area and were treated as outsiders and were victims of racial abuse. Click here to read the whole Mail On-line article.

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Here the film’s director Biyi Bandele speaks to Smart Monkey TV about the six year struggle to get the film made, how he took the novel to the screen, and the divisions in modern day Nigeria.

John Boyega

 

 

One of the UK’s rising stars is John Boyega.  He first rose to fame in the urban sci-fi comedy drama, Attack the Block, and has since gone over to Hollywood where he has won the role in a forthcoming biopic of Olympic athlete Jesse Owens. Click on the link to read and interview that Boyega gave to iD magazine 

 

 

 

Here are Interviews with the actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joseph Mawle, Onyeka Onwenu, director Biyi Bandele, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Babou Ceesay, and producer Andrea Calderwood taken from the red carpet at the 2013 London Film Festival.

 

The stars of Half of A Yellow Sun grace the red carpet for the South London Premiere.

 

08.04.14

On Tuesday April 8th the stars of the movie Half Of A Yellow Sun attended the premiere at the Odeon cinema in Streatham, South London.

Stars of the film Chiwetal and Thandie

Stars of the film Chiwetal Ejiofor and Thandie Newton pose for pics at the big London premier.

Nigerian playwright  Biyi Bandele introduces his feature film debut with this adaptation of the internationally best-selling Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Chimamanda

The book’s author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi

The films director Biyi Bandele

The film’s director Biyi Bandele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The cast with the writer, director, and producer

The cast with the director, writer and producer at the Odeon, Streatham, London (08.04.14)                                                                                                      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kush CEO Marlon Palmer at premier of Half Of A Yellow Sun

Kush CEO Marlon Palmer at premier of Half Of A Yellow Sun

 

 

If you weren’t one of the lucky few able to attend the première; don’t worry. The film goes on general release from Friday 11th.

For a chance to win a signed movie poster, click here

To find the cinema nearest to you CLICK HERE


To read a review of the film click here.      For a full cast list click here.       Follow the movie on facebook


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Half of a Yellow Sun – video clips

 

 

 

Based on the award-winning best seller by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun is the feature film debut from London based Nigerian playwright, novelist and screenwriter Biyi Bandele. Starring Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), BAFTA-winner Thandie Newton (Crash), BAFTA-nominee Joseph Mawle(Birdsong)Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) and John Boyega (Attack the Block). Half of a Yellow Sun is released this Friday (April 11th).  To find the cinema nearest to you which will be screening the film, click here

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Until then you can watch interviews with the stars of the film – Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Onyeka Onwenu, and the director Biyi Bandele, as well as the author of the original book Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, all  taken from the red carpet of the film’s premier at the London Film Festival.

And here, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie–celebrated, award-winning author (her most recent being the National Book Critics Circle Award for her novel Americanah received on March 13, 2014)–sits down with fellow Naija beauty Lola Ogunnaike for an interview on Arise 360. Chimamanda talks about the exciting, upcoming film adaptation of her novel, Half the Yellow Sun, and about the very real possibility of working with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

And as a final special treat, here’s an exclusive clip from the film.

For a review of the film click here.

Click here for a full cast list

Check out the official Half of A Yellow Sun website here

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Film Review: Half of a Yellow Sun

       Two views of the movie from our writers Samira Sawlani and Leslie Pitt

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To make a film based on a book is often a poisoned chalice for filmmakers. Not only do they face the usual challenge of creating a piece of entertainment which will please an audience, but they have the added pressure of doing justice to the story upon which it is based and managing the expectations of its readers. So spare a thought for playwright, novelist, screenplay writer and now film director Biyi Bandele who took on the mammoth task of bringing to the big screen ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, the award winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

The book stands as powerful literary piece which, through the eyes of four characters, tells the heart-wrenching story of the rarely discussed Nigerian civil war which took place between 1967 and 1970.
Before filming began, there was much controversy over bi-racial actress Thandie Newton being chosen to play the leading role of Olanna, a Nigerian woman hailing from the Igbo tribe. To give credit where it is due, Newton manages to delivers some powerful scenes. However, the question of whether a Nigerian actress such as Genevieve Nnaji (who has a small guest role in the film) should have been cast as Olanna is an issue worthy of discussion.

The film begins with excellent real life footage of the Queen visiting Nigeria, indeed the continuous usage of historical documentation as the plot develops gives the film context and an added authenticity.

The opening scenes show Olanna (Newton) and non-identical twin sister Kainene (played by the astounding Anika Noni Rose) as girls from a wealthy Lagos family dressed in the latest fashions and speaking in posh accents at Nigerian Independence Day celebrations.

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Unlike in the book, where the sisters are a major part of a greater plot filled with a complexity of characters, the film is built around the relationship between the siblings and how it reflects the turmoil facing a country as it descends into war.

Slowly we see the introduction of other characters such as Olanna’s lover Odenigbo, the academic armchair revolutionary played by the brilliant Chiwetel Ejiofor, Richard, the white English writer who falls in love with Kainene, and Ugwu (played by John Boyega), Odenigbo’s observant yet silent houseboy, a character so central in the book, yet underused in the film.
Much focus is put upon Olanna’s relationship with Odenigbo, its many upheavals ranging from infidelity to disapproval from his mother (a show stealing performance by Onyeka Onwenu) who describes Olanna as a ‘witch’.  We see Olanna leaving behind her lavish Lagos lifestyle to join her lover in Nsukka and ultimately it is this decision which sees her living in Biafra and then being plunged into relative poverty, and her betrayal of Kainene which ultimately tears apart the relationship between the sisters. In the background we see the coming of war, subtle references to strikes and tribal tensions take place in the dialogue between characters, while simultaneously we are drawn into the everyday realities which they face.
By keeping focus on Olanna and Kainene, the director misses out on the opportunity to have created a masterpiece which would have done justice to the reality of post-colonial Nigeria and the Biafra war. But for all its weaknesses, there are many aspects of the film which deserve praise and are enough reason to go see it.

BombsBlow_HOAYSForemost is the chilling and raw depiction of the war, certain scenes of violence and chaos leave the viewer in shock at just how easily forgotten the conflict was despite its horrific impact. Some of the more emotionally ridden scenes have an atmosphere which is palpable.

The parts of the film which were filmed on location in Nigeria do full justice to the lush greenery and beauty of a country which is all too often associated with more negative matters, indeed one cannot help but relish in the aesthetics of some of the scenery.
The attention to detail and authenticity in terms of decor, furniture, costumes and the atmosphere in every scene is superb. The clothing worn by the female characters not only ooze accuracy in terms of history and fashion, but are likely to impress any follower of fashion.  Similarly the music transports one back to the era of Miriam Makeba and Eartha Kitt and draws in the viewer as every song or piece of music perfectly complements the scene it accompanies.

It is likely that Chiwetel Ejiofor’s success in 12 Years A Slave will draw in the crowds and although his fans will not be disappointed, the highlights really are the scene stealing performances by Anika Noni Rose, Onyeka Onwenu and John Boyega, all of whom are sadly not used enough.
Overall Half of a Yellow Sun delivers a few scenes of poignancy and raw emotion which would leave any viewer speechless.

By Samira Sawlani

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Half a Yellow Sun is an interesting yet flawed piece that employs its high quality cast to help bypass its flustering narrative. Through one can’t fault the films ambition; as an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s acclaimed novel, the film’s structure and screenplay doesn’t measure up to the detail that is clearly set in the book.

Set against the Nigerian-Biafran civil war of the sixties; the film tells the tale of two well educated, politically opposed sisters whose personal decisions to stay in Africa, not only shock their family but set in motion a series of events and conflicts that dramatically shape their lives.

It’s clear from the very beginning that Half a Yellow Sun has a vast scope. The film tries to encompass three years of war and a variety of family dynamics as well as trying to showcase Nigeria and its varied cultural and political landscapes. We delve head-first into traditional versus modern family tensions, household, gender and wider politics and perspective on class with little time to breathe. However the screenplay is far too light to juggle the pins and first-time director Biyi Bandele doesn’t have enough of an assured grip with everything as characters, timelines and viewpoints skip and jump with only a small amount of rhythm. Certain characters feel more important than they appear, while others seem to disappear for far too long. There’s a sense that much of the film has been pared down to not only include as much as possible, but to keep an element of structure. Yet the film’s abruptly anti-climatic final third sits awkwardly with the viewer as the credits roll. There simply should be more to it.

half-of-a-yellow-sun-movieHalf a Yellow Sun’s strongest points land with the films well picked cast. Already on a roll with an Academy Awards nomination for 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor gives a weighted amount of complexity to the ‘revolutionary left wing professor’ Odenigbo, while Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, Princess and the Frog) provides strong opposition as capitalist sister Kainene. John Boyega shows his range in his slightly neglected role of Ugwu, and Thandie Newton, takes all of the plaudits in one of her strongest performances to date. In a display of intelligence and quiet dignity, Newton expresses the type of measured performance that makes you stand up and take notice of just how long the actress has been missing from Hollywood’s narrow gaze.

Half a Yellow Sun firmly places Nigeria in the forefront and does well to help demystify a country which has been clouded by reductive email scam memes and ungainly impressions by people who believe they’re Felix Dexter. There’s a clear desire to highlight the richness of a country with such a complicated history, while the melodramatic nature of the scenes will perhaps find an audience. Unfortunately Half a Yellow Sun does not weigh up to the sum of its parts and as opposed to a landmark piece, it may only weigh up as a footnote.

 by Leslie Pitt

 for a full list of the cast, click here

Kush Leads The Way in Black Film Renaissance


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 PRESS RELEASE

Black British Media companies unite to promote Chiwetel Ejiofor’s new film  Half Of A Yellow Sun!

 Kush Promotions, the leading Marketing/PR & Film Exhibition specialist of urban/black films in the UK, is proud to present another massive movie event!

So far in 2014 we have worked on the marketing campaign for the Academy Award Winning ‘12 Years A Slave’. We are also currently handling specialist urban marketing for the acclaimed gritty British prison drama “Starred Up”.And now Kush is proud to be working on Chiwetel Ejiofor’s follow-up film  Half Of A Yellow Sun on behalf of distributor Soda Pictures to be released in the UK on 11 April

Half of A Yellow Sun is the sensational new epic film directed by Nigerian playwright  Biyi Bandele based on the best-selling Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

With BAFTA winners Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor leading the cast.

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To herald the launch we are hosting a star-studded a premier of the movie at the Streatham Odeon in London on 8th April with cast members in attendance.

John Boyega

41st NAACP Image Awards - Portraits
20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Presentation

To gain maximum exposure throughout all media outlets Kush is pleased to be collaborating with Black-owned media partners Colourful Radio and cable TV station Vox Africa (Sky 218).

“In the past many Black media outlets have felt that they have been left out of film companies’ marketing budgets” which is often expressed to Kush Director Marlon Palmer. “With 16 years of experience in creating a platform for Black filmmakers, Kush are leading the way in bringing Black media together in the marketing exhibition and distribution of Black film in the UK.”

Expect many more exciting movie and media events from Kush to follow in 2014.


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for more info on the film click on this link to view our other pages

Busy, busy, Its going to be an exciting 2014!

21.03.14

Hello Film Lovers,
I hope all is well and good,
Do we have some good film news for you!

Good to be finally communicating with you as it’s been such a busy 2014 already and wow it’s almost the end of March already – this year has just raced along and we here at Kush have just about noticed; as right now we are in film heaven and work overload.

We are currently working on the marketing for two big new films which we want to tell you all about and hopefully you will decide to go and see them yourselves and also give us your feedback once seen.

The first film is STARRED UP (18) a very, very serious new British film depicting a startling view of prison life and how it affects young people (our young people), watching this film made me suddenly become thoughtful about all the young men and women now growing up angry without adequate or in some cases no parental guidance at all and finding themselves incarcerated.

Prison life is brutal and vicious and somewhat not geared to rehabilitation, it’s a miracle that some do find their way in life after incarceration.

Did you know that at the end of June 2013 there were 6,262 prison inmates in prisons in England aged 18-20 (7%).  10% of the prison population are aged 18-25 and 21-24 yr olds made up 15% of the prison population (12,822).

Black and Black British people made up 2.8 percent of the population but 13.2% of the prison population.

STARRED UP depicts prison life plainly, thrillingly and of course shockingly but in such a real-to-life way that the deeper you go into the film you really begin to understand the young lead characters PrisonWalkangry need for violence and you even absolutely feel sorry for him at the end.  Many young children in jail are products of their environment and know no better and only know one way of how to protect themselves and their fragile vulnerability.     

 

At the beginning of this week Kush organised a press screening and invited all the hot influential young entrepreneurs running media business along with a few older media & press personnel and as far as I know everyone that has seen the film young and old has been totally gripped, startled, excited and finally praising of the film (women and men alike), it’s also quite funny in places. It’s a must see – I say!

It is one of the best British films I have seen in a very long time and the star turn performance by young Jack O’Connell (Skins) is worthy of a rising star tag!  The supporting cast of David Ajala, Ashley Chin, David Avery, Rupert Friend  & Anthony Welsh

Starred Up is In UK cinemas from today: Friday 21st Marchtry it you may like it!
I Loved it!

You can find out more info on the film on our New Releases and Film Review pages.

STARRED-UP-_quad-posterFINARelease Date: March 21st 2014 / Certificate: 18
FIND YOUR LOCAL CINEMA BY CLICKING HERE

 Make sure to check-out the Kush review for Starred Up
You can also follow ‘Starred Up’ on Twitter @starred_up

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The other film we are working on is “Half Of A Yellow Sun”, a new epic super-dooper Nigerian film starring Oscar Winner Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton (Crash), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls)  & young John Boyega (Attack The Block). I know many of you are familiar with the story through the award winning novel written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who has again recently won an American literary award for her new novel Americanah, which allegedly Lupita Nyong’o is in talks with her to make into a film.

Half Of A Yellow Sun directed by Nigerian Biyi Bandele known for his theatre work may be the film that takes Nollywood to Hollywood, this is no low budget film it’s a sprawling epic piece of filmmaking that has great performances from the cast and I think this is easily one of Thandie Newton’s best career performances.

I will be letting you all know all about the upcoming premiere which we are working on where Chiwetel and others from the cast will be present.

Half Of A Yellow Sun will arrive in UK cinemas on 11 April 2014.

I am expecting the African and African-Caribbean communities to unite and come out in force to support this film and give it great box office figures upon release confirming the arrival of larger budget size black films from the continents of Europe and Africa.

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lanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the “revolutionary professor” Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer.

Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world.

Based on the award-winning best seller by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is the feature film debut from London based Nigerian playwright, novelist and screenwriter Biyi Bandele. Starring Oscar-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave), BAFTA-winner Thandie Newton (Crash), BAFTA-nominee Joseph Mawle (Birdsong), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) and John Boyega (Attack the Block).

HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is an epic love-story weaving together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of war, produced by Andrea Calderwood of Slate Films (The Last King of Scotland).

A FILM BY BIYI BANDELE | BASED ON THE BESTSELLING NOVEL BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

STARRING: THANDIE NEWTON | CHIWETEL EJIOFOR | ANIKA NONI ROSE | JOSEPH MAWLE | JOHN BOYEGA |GENEVIEVE NNAJI | ONYEKA ONWENU

Release date: 11 April 2014

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Well that’s me for another month; got lots of work to do which includes the continued development of kushfilms.com so be prepared to see some new changes happening to the site over the course of the next two-three month with new pages & sections that we hope you will like and enjoy using.

If there is anything I can do to help you in your film industry career then please let me know?

advice on best career routes, how best to promote and market your film, where to look for government funding, film exhibition etc then please feel free to send me an email: info@kushfilms.com

Best

Marlon Palmer
Director

‘Half of A Yellow Sun’ Released 11 April in UK

A FILM BY
BIYI BANDELE

BASED ON THE BESTSELLING NOVEL BY
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

STARRING
THANDIE NEWTON | CHIWETEL EJIOFOR
ANIKA NONI ROSE | JOSEPH MAWLE | JOHN BOYEGA
GENEVIEVE NNAJI | ONYEKA ONWENU

IN CINEMAS FROM 11 APRIL 2014
FIND A CINEMA NEAR YOU HERE

Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the “revolutionary professor” Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises

herself when she falls in love with Richard (Joseph Mawle), an English writer. Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire country and the world.

A sweeping romantic drama, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN takes the sisters and their lovers on a
journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and, as the response of readers
around the world has shown, it is a story which can touch everyone’s heart

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The Story Behind The Making of HOAYS

Half of A Yellow Sun is essentially a love story set in a time of uncertainty and war.
Nigerian playwright ” Biyi Bandele introduces his feature film debut with this adaptation of the internationally best-selling Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Biyi says; “It’s about people falling in love and the sacrifices you have to make sometimes when you are in a relationship.” More specifically, he explains, “It is about a generation of Nigerians who grew up in the 1960s, which is when Nigeria along with most African countries gained independence. And this was a generation of African Nigerians, who were so imbued with confidence, with enthusiasm and optimism about the future of the country and of Africa itself. But before the end of that decade things begin to unravel before their very eyes and the dream they had for that country became very, very complicated.”

For the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the story was an intensely personal one. She explains: “Much of the story of Odenigbo in the novel is based on my father’s own experiences. My father had just returned from the US with his new PHD in Mathematics, was eager, like most of the other educated Nigerians of his generation, to join in the task of nation building after independence, and then things fell apart: the coup, the massacres, the war. My father and his friends lost their innocence in that war.”

The scars of the conflict are still present in families across modern-day Nigeria, none more so than Adichie’s. “In my family, nobody really spoke about what they had experienced until I began to ask questions while researching the novel. Almost everything that happens in the novel is based on something that happened to someone real, a family member, a family friend, although I changed some details.”

ADAPTING A BEST SELLING NOVEL
Nigerian born playwright and novelist Biyi Bandele came across Adichie’s book soon after it was published and it had a dramatic impact on him, as he explains: “I was completely bowled over by the sheer scale of it. Chimamanda’s writing is phenomenal.” The book held a particular poignancy for Bandele as he outlines. “Because I was born in Nigerian during the Nigerian civil war, it is a subject that has always fascinated me and I have always wanted there to be a book or film about Biafra.”

He thought the story would make a great film, and his immediate thought was to send the book to Andrea Calderwood, who had recently produced Kevin Macdonald’s THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND. As Bandele continues: “She read it and came back a week later and said, yes, I agree it will make a great movie.”

Producer, Andrea Calderwood picks up the story. “What I loved about the book was that it’s a very strong human story. It’s quite a universal story about these women making very bold choices in their lives. It’s set against the backdrop of the Nigerian civil war, a very significant time in Nigeria.

Chimamanda’s book felt to me like a universal story about universal human emotions but those emotions are heightened by being in a state of war. So we felt that you didn’t need to have any prior knowledge of the Nigerian civil war in order to understand the story.” The book’s best-selling status across the world proves that point. Calderwood continues, “I think what draws people to it is that it really is about these women in particular, making very surprising choices, and what they decide to do with their lives and how they deal with their relationships.”

Calderwood explains that Adichie was happy for Bandele to translate her book to the screen over others who had approached her as she very much respected his novels and theatre work. According to Calderwood, “She felt that she would be in very safe hands and that Biyi would be the person to understand all the nuances and complexities of what she was writing about. She was very generous in the way that she allowed Biyi to take it and turn it into something else.” Bandele adds, “Whenever she was in London we would meet up and I was incredibly passionate about it and I think that came across.”

Bandele describes the challenge of turning a 500 page book into a film of under two hours. “It’s like translating something from one language to another. In order to make it work you have to find new idioms, new ways of saying the same thing in a new language.” He continues, “I was trying to capture the essence of the book. I had to decide what was going to stay in and what was going to stay out.

The book for instance is told from the point of view of Ugwu who is the houseboy.

And what of Adichie’s response to the script? Bandele decided against showing it to her at that stage, because of the change in focus. When it came to showing the novelist the final film, Bandele describes how terrified he felt. “I actually stayed away from the screening, even though I was in the neighbourhood. Then I got a phone call from Andrea saying she loved it!”

When Bandele later met up with Adichie she told him that she was glad not to have seen the script beforehand as her faith in him was justified. As Bandele tells it, “She said, ‘You got the book! You absolutely got the book.

Courtesy of Soda Pictures © 2014

for biographies of the cast list, click here

for a review of the film  click here

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