Tag Archives: John Boyega

2015 A Good Year – Happy Hols/New Year From Marlon Palmer (Kush Director)

Marlon Palmer
Director
18.12.15

 

Happy-Holidays

 

Greetings and salutations (Friends, Fans, Associates & Film Lovers),

It’s December (once again, LOL!) and almost time to end this year and bring in another New Year. Well after we have stuffed our faces, drank more than we can handle and immersed ourselves with family we both love and hate – well it’s got to be done!

This year from a film standpoint of view has been good, starting off with the January release of the much-talked about Selma and then Chris Rock’s ‘Top Five’ in May; two films we worked on. Paramount Pictures actually hired Kush Promotions & PR to market Top Five in 7 cities of the UK and allowed us to manage the budget. To allow us to manage the budget and nationwide-wide campaign was a justification of the 17 years of hard work and determination I have put in developing this business. After May PR work kind of dried up for us as the next big urban releases were from distributors who appear to have an issue with me/Kush; LOL! It appears I have told off the Head of International Marketing at both Sony Pictures and Universal over the years and I have not been forgiven TopFivePoster_smll(daam, I only told them the truth about their poor marketing of particular urban film) well seems like i’m “Blacklisted” – so be it – I will always speak my mind and tell the truth if some don’t like it, so be it! Was upset though, that we missed out on hip-hop films Dope and Straight Outta Compton; Sony & Universal film releases respectively.

Anyway the break away from Film-Marketing/PR was a Godsend (it was needed) as it allowed me to get back fully-focussed on the wide-ranging development of Kush Media. Something I wasn’t truly able to do for two straight years from October 2013 – May 2015 as Kush Promotions & PR became the go-to Specialist Independent PR Company marketing all black films month-after-month here in the UK (shhh! The remuneration was nice though). We also got to work on films like ‘Starred Up’ starring Jack O’Connell and The Maze Runner.

The breakaway allowed me to re-assess things and from that the ‘Kush Film Boutique’ was relaunched and in all that I do (even though it can be hard work) these days; I get the most satisfaction out of seeing the joy, dismay, shock, horror and amazement on patrons faces at our screenings – the wonders of film!

PR/Marketing work paid Kush well, and I strived hard to get to that position and be paid well but during the Top Five campaign earlier this year I realised that I wasn’t enjoying the work, it wasn’t why I started Kush Promotions back in 1998 and sitting in my office managing people (especially some of the difficult people I had to manage across the UK) became all so ‘Soulless’.

I had lost the joy of what I was doing daily and to wrap this part up – I believe in life to truly be successful you have to be fulfilling your life’s purpose and embracing daily the joy of all that you offer – once you lose that joy it’s time to reassess!

Anyway it’s going to be a very exciting end to the year with the massive impending release this week of Star Wars: The Force Awakens starring local Peckham Lad John Boyega whom we star-wars-force-awakens-posthankfully had time to meet whilst managing PR/Marketing for the film “Half A Yellow Sun” last year.

Straight away from speaking to John I knew he would be a star he was so down to earth, well-spoken and assured in his manner – definitely a star in the making and I said so at the time.

I can’t wait to see how well he exudes his persona off the big screen as the character ‘Finn’ in this massive blockbuster film; I’m sure he has done a fine job otherwise we would have heard already especially with all the earlier ignorant social media commotion about a “Black Stormtrooper”.

I won’t even go into that foolishness as it will bring down the tone of my newsletter and inveigle me into talking about dumb people from another galaxy!

Congratulations to rising star John Boyega and all the other British actors in the film (Daisy Ridley), and as a Star Wars fan it’s also great to see the old stars back; Harrison Ford as Hans Solo, Mark

John Boyega

Hamill as Luke Skywalker and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia and of course Chewbacca.

As you may have guessed I’m a sci-fi nut and love all films that expand our psyche to places unknown in the big ole galaxy. Bring on Superman vs Batman, Captain America: Civil War, Suicide Squad, Star Trek Beyond (with Idris Elba) and daam give me Black Panther now!!

Don’t forget get your tickets for ‘The Force Awakens’ this weekend! I’ve Got Mine

Wishing you all a fantastic Christmas, a blessed Kwaanza and a harmonious Eid plus a totally great New Year.

Keep Believing and doing!
Marlon Palmer

Peckham Lad John Boyega Hits The Stars in The Force Awakens

Courtesy of www.guardian.com
Written by Hermione Hoby
13.12.15

 

JohnBoyega_StarWars

John Boyega in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Photograph: Film Frame/AP

The two things happened in a tight 90 seconds. First, there was ​the matter of pop cultural history being made. When Lucasfilm released a teaser trailer last month for The Force Awakens, the hugely anticipated seventhStar Wars movie that fans have waited a decade for, every detail in short duration seemed to become world talking points. In its first week the trailer generated a record-breaking 58.2 million views. Now, it’s been watched more than 75 million times.

It opens with a shot of desert and the tense violins of John Williams’s score. Then, in an epically laryngitic voiceover, come the words: “There has been an awakening … have you felt it?” And with them up pops the first face and the first character those 75 million pairs of eyes saw: a black guy, dressed in Stormtrooper uniform, sweating profusely and looking hunted.

Within minutes, the hashtag #blackstormtrooper was trending on Twitter. It brought with it the kind of diehard, narrow-minded nerdery that postulated a Stormtrooper shouldn’t be played by a black man because this fictional fighting force were all cloned from one, lighter-skinned, human descendant. It came, too, with even uglier comments, the kind that were unconscionably racist.

The second thing, then, that happened in those 90 seconds was the catapulting of John Boyega, a 23-year-old, largely unknown actor from south London, to a level of galactic fame. But Boyega seems to have been fazed neither by the size of the film franchise nor by the colour of his skin being a talking point on online message boards. In the wake of the first trailer, he issued a cheerful response over Instagram by posting a still of himself in Stormtrooper uniform and a short, celebratory message that ended with: “To whom it may concern… Get used to it :)”

Boyega had played just one lead film role before he was cast in the biggest franchise in the history of movies. This was the 2011 cult favourite, Attack the Block, a sci-fi comedy in which he was Moses, a south London teenager battling an alien invasion on a housing estate. Among the film’s admirers was the American critic Roger Ebert, who singled out Boyega’s performance by praising director Joe Cornish for making such a “fortunate discovery”.

It was another eminent fan, however, who changed the course of Boyega’s life. JJ Abrams, the writer-director-producer most famous for his work on the American TV series Lost, also saw the movie and loved it. When Abrams and Boyega met shortly afterwards, the director told him it was his favourite movie of 2011 and: “We’re going to get you in something.” Which Boyega took with a pinch of Hollywood salt. Lots of people were telling him they loved him in the film; he didn’t actually believe any of them meant much by it.

But then, four years later, Abrams did indeed cast him in “something” and that something happened to be Star Wars. The decision came only after putting Boyega through an intensive, seven-month auditioning process.

“It was hard,” Boyega told Time Out London last week. “And rightly so. If I bought a company for $4bn, I’d make sure those actors were on point!” (Disney bought Lucasfilm for that enormous sum in 2012.)

On the day that Abrams finally contacted him, Boyega was at a friend’s house in Catford, south London, playing video games. Wishing to appear insouciant, he told the director that he was on his way to an art gallery. Abrams told him to get in a cab to a Mayfair restaurant and Boyega did, thereby draining his bank account dry on the £70 fare. Once there, he heard the words: “John, you’re the new star of Star Wars,” and at some point in the next few moments it may have occurred to Boyega that he’d never have to worry about a cab fare again.

Some analysts have predicted that the movie will be the first ever to gross more than $3bn at the box office and the film is also expected to generate $100m in advance ticket sales alone. For Boyega, however, the real thrill seems to be not the big bucks but the glorious geekery of, for example, wielding a lightsaber for the first time, seeing himself cast as an action figure, or getting to stroke a Wookiee – the furry, humanoid creatures whose most famous member is Chewbacca, Han Solo’s sidekick.

Star Wars has been a pop-cultural phenomenon since the first, eponymous 1977 movie that made household names of three unknown actors: Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Harrison Ford (Han Solo). As the mythology grew so dense and enormous, it demanded more detail and so the original movie came to earn the subtitle, Episode IV – A New Hope. Despite being born 15 years after this first instalment, Boyega has been happy to let the world know that he is, in the words of one magazine profile, “the galaxy’s biggest fanboy” and that he grew up watching the movies and earnestly collecting its merchandise.

Boyega was born in Peckham, south London, to a dad who was a minister and a mum who worked with disabled children; both immigrated from Nigeria before their son was born. He has described his childhood as “fantastic” and has talked about how much he loved performing at both Westminster City school and then at South Thames College, where he was a performing arts student. Nonetheless, he has had to shut down a certain narrative that some corners of the British press have been keen to push. When one newspaper ran a profile of the actor that described him growing up “on the tough streets where Damilola Taylor died”, Boyega slammed it in a succinct tweet: “Inaccurate. Stereotypical. NOT my story.” Boyega never knew Taylor, the 10-year-old boy who came from Nigeria and was stabbed to death in a Peckham stairwell, and the description of “gangs, guns and knives” didn’t chime with, for example, his memory of performing at the Royal Albert Hall when he was 13.

In more progressive and optimistic quarters, the “awakening” that the trailer’s voiceover refers to has been interpreted as the enlightenment of diversity – the slow and overdue change that finally seems to be coming over Hollywood. One writer characterised the original Star Warsmovies as “largely just a bunch of white American dudes fighting a bunch of white British dudes”, and it’s bewildering to remember that their only female character was Princess Leia, who spent a lot of time bikini-clad and bound by Jabba the Hutt. In this seventh movie, Carrie Fisher reprises her role as the newly named General Leia and is joined by a female lead, Daisy Ridley, a 23-year-old British newcomer, who plays the main role of Rey. And then of course there’s Boyega, who wears his status as some kind of champion of casting lightly.

Days ago, he was asked by the New York Times how he felt when some threatened to boycott the movie simply because it featured a black man as a Stormtrooper: “It made me feel fine. I’m grounded in who I am, and I am a confident black man. I wasn’t raised to fear people with a difference of opinion. They are merely victims of a disease in their mind. To get into a serious dialogue with people who judge a person based on the melanin in their skin? They’re stupid, and I’m not going to lose sleep over people.”

In another recent interview, he spoke about how the franchise now being “reflective of the world we live in today is fantastic”. He then joked: “Apart from the Wookiees and the green people. We’re giving them attention just in case that happens. You never know where the melanin is gonna go. It could go pink. You never know.”

He was also light-hearted about getting recognised. As he told the New York Times, people “know where this forehead comes from. They see it, and they go, ‘Hmm, looks like that Stormtrooper that’s sweating all the time.’”

Thanks to the high level, watertight secrecy that Abrams has insisted on, there aren’t many more details than that sweaty forehead. We do know that Boyega’s character is called Finn, that he’s a disaffected Stormtrooper who’s defected from his unit and that he’s in possession of the lightsaber that Luke and Anakin Skywalker owned before him.

Everything else will have to wait until the film launches on Friday. By which point the most overexcited fan may well be the star himself. As Boyega said recently: “If you hear someone at the back of the cinema screaming and laughing and crying, it’s probably me.”

THE BOYEGA FILE

Born John Boyega, 17 March 1992 in Peckham, south London, to Nigerian parents. He trained at east London’s Identity School of Acting.

Best of times Before his Star Wars “moment”, being chosen as one of Screen International’s UK Stars of Tomorrow 2011. More recently, being told by JJ Abrams that he was the new star of Star Wars: “Everything froze for a moment.”

Worst of times The racist online responses that followed the movie’s first teaser trailer in which Boyega appeared as a Stormtrooper.

He says “All the films I’ve done have had a secret commentary on stereotypical mentalities. It’s about getting people to drop a prejudiced state of mind and realise, ‘Oh shit we’re just watching normal people.’”

They say “All I know is John Boyega does an extraordinary job in the movie. The people who are complaining about that probably have bigger problems than, ‘there’s a black Stormtrooper’.”
​JJ Abrams

David Oyelewo Undoubted Shining Star

By Leslie Byron Pitt
Written: 04.03.15

 

David-Oyelowo_Selma

In the last five years, the likes of Idris Elba (Thor), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle), John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) have called attention to the wealth of black British actors making strong waves within the Hollywood system. 2014 helped continue the trend, with films such as Interstellar, A Most Violent Year and Selma highlighting the remarkable talents of David Oyelowo.

Oyelowo was born in Oxford, 1976 to Nigerian parents who both worked within the transport sector. At age 6, Oyelowo relocated to Nigeria and during his time there; Oyelowo discovered that his family was of royal lineage. He returned to England seven years later. Quoted in his BBC bio for Spy drama Spooks, it was during his Theatre Studies A-levels at City and Islington College, in which Oyelowo was inspired by a teacher to continue his dramatic pursuits.

David Oyelowo started his stage career in 1999 with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing in roles for plays such as Oroonoko and Volpone. His performance as Henry VI in 2001 had him awarded with Ian Charleson Award for Best Newcomer in a Classic Play. This landmark of colour blind casting, caused controversy in some media circles. In the book The Henry VI plays (by Stuart Hampton-Reeves and Carol Chillington Rutte), Oyelowo states on remembering a Daily Telegraph article which complained such casting “opens us to ridicule”. A Mail on Sunday Piece remarks: “I’m not sure you could have a black actor playing a monarch with such a familiar face, but with Henry VI it’s fine because your average theatre goer starts with a pretty blank slate.” A hilarious remark considering the west’s history of white washing minority characters (Laurence Olivier in Othello anyone?).

It is this role of Henry, however, that not only convinced his father that David had found correct career choice, such criticisms unsurprisingly foreshadow and consolidates Oyelowo’s feelings of strong roles for black British talent. The press interviews for Selma have highlighted Oyelowo’s forthright opinions on how race in the arts is viewed. That Oyelowo made his mark with this portrayal, only highlights his considerable talents further.

David Oyelowo became more of a household name due to his stint as doomed case officer; Danny in the BBC’s praised espionage series, Spooks (2002 – 2011). Playing alongside the likes of Matthew Oyelowo_SpooksMacfadyen and Keeley Hawes, Oyelowo spent two years on the highly popular show before bowing out to pursue other projects. Oyelowo found himself in leading roles such as Matt Wellings, in the critically acclaimed drama Five Days, in which he won the 2007 award for Winner of Best Actor in a Mini Series or Motion Picture for Television, Golden Satellite Awards. In 2008 he was cast alongside British actors Colin Salmon and Idris Elba in the Anthony Minghella directed pilot of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. The Botswanan set show, while award winning and enjoyed, unfortunately, never obtained a second series.

Oyelowo also starred in the 2009 television mini-series Small Island. An adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel, which focuses on the diaspora of Jamaican immigrants during and after World War II. Oyelowo was nominated for Best Actor at the BAFTA television awards in 2010, for his portrayal of the unlucky but noble Gilbert Joseph.

Despite finding minor cinematic roles in the likes of Derailed (2005) and The Last King of Scotland (2006), it was 2011 which marked out new and exciting territory for the young actor. Oyelowo was cast as the selfish antagonist, Steven Jacobs in the surprise blockbuster hit, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Often recognised as more noble characters, the role of Jacobs allowed Oyelowo to not only star in one of the biggest hits of the summer, but also allowed him to expand his range in a much pulpier type of cinematic feature.

2011 also saw Oyelowo take a small role as Preacher Green, in the successful civil rights drama, The Help. In Red Tails, the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, Oywlowo was allowed to broaden his range further with the “physically demanding” role of 1st Lt. Joe “Lightning” Little. In an article for blackflix, Oyelowo was quick to not only comment on how proud he was being able to take a role that belongs in the history books due to the Airmen’s role in desegregation of the American Armed Forces. Oyelowo also noted on the shortage of opportunities of an all-black leading cast, being able to star in a movie, which didn’t feel like a niche feature, solely aimed at the African American audience. Hollywood mogul George Lucas financed and produced the film himself after gaining no support from the Hollywood studio system, but in the end the film didn’t set the international box office alight, however, Red Tails helped reinforce Oyelowo’s board range of talent to Hollywood.

It was in 2012 in which Oyelowo, first worked with Selma director Ava DuVernay, in the Independent drama, Middle of Nowhere. Gaining strong reviews and positive recognition at the Sundance Selma_Ava_OyelowoFestival, the film was a chance for DuVernay to work with an actor she had long been a fan of. Oyelowo’s role in Middle of Nowhere found itself sandwiched in-between releases of Lee Daniels’ Southern Gothic tale The Paperboy and Steven Spielberg’s historical biopic Lincoln. Oyelowo’s small yet poignant role in Lincoln, as Ira Clark perhaps has one of the most resonant moments of the film. In his most touching scene, the young Clark is reciting one of Lincoln’s most famous addresses, to help highlight his knowledge and admiration of the man. The scene itself is one of the film’s strongest moments.

His role as Louis Gaines in 2013’s The Butler gained Oyelowo even more recognition (NAAC image award for best supporting actor in a Motion picture), however, it was 2014 that has proved to be the one of the highest peaks of David Oyelowo’s career. The actor found him starring in a small but droll role as an ignorant school principle in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar as well as a cagey and corrupt DA in the subtly engaging A Most Violent year. Of course the crowning achievement is Oyelowo’s complex and rousing portrayal of Dr Martin Luther King in Selma. Despite his Golden Globe nomination, many found his lack of nominations to be a snub.

However Oyelowo’s cool, calm demeanour when approaching his role of King in interviews, as well as his upfront and intelligent engagement about race and talent range of black British actors, show that his words alone may provide more inspiration for young black actors, than an award. For Oyelewo we believe…. the sky’s the limit.

‘Big tings a gwaan’ for John Boyega

written by Lee Pinkerton
30/04/14

 

 

Star Wars: Episode VII cast announced as young British actors John Boyega and Daisy Ridley among the names to join original cast

star-wars-episode-7-release-date1On April 29th 2014 Starwars.com updated fans on the cast of the highly anticipated next installment of the epic sci-fi franchise.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill will all reprise their original roles as Hans Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker respectively.

Director J.J. Abrams said the team are “thrilled” to welcome new actors to the saga.

“We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII” said Abrams. “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

attack-the-block-Boyega burst onto the scene in 2011 co-starring in the Joe Cornish-penned urban sci-fi drama Attack the Block and online Being Human spin-off series, Becoming Human.
Since then he was the lead role in BBC TV drama My Murder, enjoyed a supporting role in Nigerian blockbuster Half of a Yellow Sun, and will be appearing  in the upcoming series 24: Live Another Day.
Daisy Ridley’s acting CV is just as colourful with roles on ITV drama Mr Selfridge, BBC’s Silent Witness and popular E4 series Youngers.

It has already been confirmed that Star Wars: Episode VII  is scheduled for release on 18 December 2015 and will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi.

Not wanting to rain on the parade but KUSH is wondering what happened to Billie Dee Williams’ role of Lando Calrissian?  Can the Star Wars franchise only accommodate one Black actor at a time?

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‘What do you mean ‘I’m not invited?’

Lee Pinkerton

Read John Boyega’s Star profile here 

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.

chiwetel-ejiofor-london-film-festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Thandie newton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


MEDIA PARTNERS:

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Kush Leads The Way in Black Film Renaissance


KUSH_LOGO

 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.


Media Partners:  

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

Half of a Yellow Sun – Cast List

 

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

 

 

 CAST OF ‘HALF OF A YELLOW SUN’

 

Thandie-Newton

THANDIE NEWTON – plays Olanna
Thandie Newton made her film debut alongside Nicole Kidman in 1991’s FLIRTING. In 1994 Neil Jordan cast her as Brad Pitt’s maid in INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES also starring Tom Cruise. Newton gained international recognition in the Merchant Ivory production of JEFFERSON IN PARIS in which she played Jefferson’s slave, co-starring with Nick Nolte and Gwyneth Paltrow. In 1997 GRIDLOCK’D followed, in which Newton starred alongside Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth, and then Jonathan Demme’s BELOVED in 1998, also with Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover. In the same year, she was seen in Bernardo Bertolucci’s BESIEGED with David Thewlis, and in 2000, she was the female lead in John Woo’s MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II alongside Tom Cruise.

She also starred in IT WAS AN ACCIDENT that year, appearing for the first time with Chiwetel Ejiofor. Jonathan Demme cast her again in THE TRUTH ABOUT CHARLIE (2004), alongside Stephen Dillane and Mark Wahlberg. That same year, she joined Vin Diesel and Judi Dench in sci-fi adventure, THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and took on the role in CRASH for which she won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress. Newton played a wealthy woman who becomes the target of Matt Dillon’s racist policeman in Paul Haggis’ film which went on to win three Academy Awards. In 2006, Newton starred as Will Smith’s wife in THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS and the following year she played the jilted lover that Simon Pegg must win back in David Schwimmer’s RUN FATBOY RUN. ROCKNROLLA, Guy Ritchie’s 2008 London thriller, saw her playing opposite Gerard Butler and Tom Wilkinson. Two US presidential roles followed, as Newton portrayed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in W. (2008), Oliver Stone’s film biography of George W. Bush.

 

 

Chiwetel Ejiofor


CHIWETEL EJIOFOR – plays Odenigbo

Ejiofor’s film career dates back to 1996, when Stephen Spielberg cast him in the critically acclaimed AMISTAD, alongside Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins. He returned to the big screen in Stephen Frears’ 2001 thriller DIRTY PRETTY THINGS for which he won Best Actor at the British Independent Film Awards and the Evening Standard Film Awards. In 2003, he co-starred in three films: Richard Curtis’ LOVE ACTUALLY,Woody Allen’s MELINDA AND MELINDA and SLOW BURN, with Ray Liotta. 2008 saw Ejiofor star in Ridley Scott’s AMERICAN GANGSTER, opposite Don Cheadle in TALK TO ME, and in David Mamet’s REDBELT.

Ejiofor’s other film credits include KINKY BOOTS (2005), the urban drama FOUR BROTHERS (2005) alongside Mark Whalberg, Spike Lee’s heist film INSIDE MAN alongside Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and Denzel Washington, and the Oscar nominated CHILDREN OF MEN, once again alongside Clive Owen, both 2006. In 2009, he earned a Golden Globe nomination, his second, for ENDGAME with William Hurt, and co-starred in Roland Emmerich’s action feature 2012 opposite John Cusack, Danny Glover and Thandie Newton.

The following year he co-starred in SALT, with Angelina Jolie and Liev Schreiber.  in 2014 he won a BAFTA award for his starring role in Steve McQueen’s TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE, alongside Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt and Paul Giamatti.

 

 

41st NAACP Image Awards - Portraits

ANIKA NONI ROSE – plays Kainene
Anika Noni Rose shot to prominence in her Tony Award winning performance in the 2004 Broadway musical, Caroline, or Change. Her first major film role came in 2006 with DREAMGIRLS in which she co-starred with Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and Eddie Murphy.

The film received an AFI ensemble award, as well as a SAG Award nomination and both the soundtrack and her song ‘Patience’ were nominated for Academy Awards. In 2009, Rose voiced Princess Tiana in Disney’s THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. The film received three Oscar nominations and she became the youngest inductee to ever be honoured as a Disney Legend.

 

 

joseph MawleJOSEPH MAWLE – plays Richard
Joseph Mawle’s first television role was Sir Tificate in the BAFTA-winning series Sir Gadabout, the Worst Knight in the Land (2002) for CITV. He went on to feature in Alex Holmes’s mini-series Dunkirk for BBC2 which won a Factual Drama BAFTA. Mawle came to national recognition through the BAFTA winning drama SOUNDPROOF (2007), which won him a breakthrough nomination at the Royal Television Society Awards. The year continued with two performances under the direction of Adrian Shergold, the first in Jane Austen’s Persuasion for ITV and the second in the controversial gay drama Clapham Junction for Channel 4. In 2008, he played Jesus in The Passion for BBC/HBO.

The following year he had roles in the critically acclaimed BAFTA nominated dramas The Street and Freefall. Mawle played The Ripper in James Marsh’s The Red Riding Trilogy in 2009 and the following year saw him star in BBC drama Five Daughters about the Ipswich prostitute murders, in Dominic Savage’s TV film Dive and alongside an all-star international cast in Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. 2011 was another busy year as he starred in DH Lawrence adaptation, Women in Love, with Rosamund Pike and Rory Kinnear. Mawle appeared as Benjen Stark in the smash HBO series Game of Thrones which gained an ensemble performance SAG Award nomination. In 2012 Joseph was BAFTA nominated for his role in Birdsong, alongside Eddie Redmayne. He has recently completed filming on The Tunnel for Sky Atlantic with Clemence Posey and Stephen Dillane.

 

 

John Boyega
JOHN BOYEGA – plays Ugwu
John Boyega is best known for his leading role in Joe Cornish’s BAFTA nominated ATTACK THE BLOCK (2011), a South London set zombie thriller in which Boyega starred with Jodie Whittaker. He has also been seen in JUNKHEARTS (2011), a drama starring Eddie Marsan, Tom Sturridge and
Romala Garai.

Boyega has taken leading roles in TV productions including Spike Lee’s Da Brick for  HBO and the BBC’s My Murder, based on a true story about the gangland death of a London boy. Boyega has recently filmed BBC drama The Whale, a dramatisation of events that inspired Moby Dick.

 

 

Genevieve4
GENEVIEVE NNAJI – plays Miss Adebayo
Genevieve started her film career in 1998 and became the first actor to be awarded Best Actress at the maiden edition of the prestigious African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in 2005. Her popularity also transcends Nigerian shores.

In 2009, she made history by being the only African actress to be profiled on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2010, she was featured as a ‘Connector of the day’ on ‘CNN Connect’ and soon afterwards she was profiled on CNN’s ‘African Voices’.

 

 

Onyeka-Onwenu1

ONYEKA ONWENU – Mama
Onyeka Onwenu is a multi talented artiste whose work as a singer/songwriter has earned her a place in the ‘Hall Of Fame’ of Nigeria’s best known and admired musicians. In a career spanning over 32 years, she has recorded some of Nigeria’s most memorable hits, and has collaborated with artistes including King Sunny Ade. She was awarded the Nigerian national honour Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR), and plays ‘Developmental Music’, often raising awareness about social issues related to peaceful coexistence, family planning and the well being of women and children. As an actress, Onyeka Onwenu’s contribution to the growth of Nigeria’s film industry has earned her widespread recognition, including the prestigious AMAA Award. As a journalist, she wrote and presented the widely acclaimed 1984 BBC/NTA production Nigeria: A Squandering of Riches. It remains the definitive film about corruption in oil rich Nigeria.

Onwenu is a graduate of Wellesley College, Massachusetts and the New School for Social Research in New York. She worked as a Tour Guide at The United Nations in New York before returning to Nigeria, where she has lived and worked since 1980, as an artiste, social critic and politician, campaigning for financial autonomy for Local Government Administration. She is a mother of two sons, Tijani and Abraham Ogunlen.

 

 

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BIYI BANDELE – Screenwriter/Director

A prolific Nigerian playwright, novelist and screenwriter now based in London, HALF OF A YELLOW SUN is Biyi Bandele’s feature film directorial debut. This first feature follows his distinguished career writing and directing plays for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court, and writing screenplays for the BBC and British and international film productions.
Bandele has previously written and directed a short, THE KISS (2009), a psychological thriller. For television Bandele wrote Not Even God is Wise Enough directed by Danny Boyle for BBC2 in 1994 and Bad Boy Blues for BBC2 (1995). He has also written a number of BBC radio dramas including Oroonoko (Radio 3, 2003), City of Spades (Radio 4, 2002) and Things Fall Apart (Radio 3, 1998).

His prolific writing for theatre includes his adaptation of Aphra Benn’s Oroonoko, which was a huge hit for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2000, and was successfully revived by New York’s Theatre for a New Audience in 2007. He wrote Brixton Stories for London’s Tricycle Theatre in 2001 and Yerma for the Edinburgh International Festival in 2000. The same year he worked on Happy Birthday, Mister Deka D at the Lyric Hammersmith in London. Earlier work, all in London. includes Thieves Like Us Southwark Playhouse (1998), Things Fall Apart, Ambassadors Theatre (1997), Me and the Boys, Finborough Theatre (1996), Death Catches the Hunter, BAC (1995), Two Horsemen, Gate Theatre (transferred to Bush Theatre, 1994), Resurrections, Talawa Theatre Company, Cochrane Theatre (1994), In the Grove… Royal Court Theatre (At the Tabernacle, 1994), Marching For Fausa, Royal Court Theatre (1993) and Rain, Yaa Asantewaa (1991).

Bandele’s fiction writing includes Burma Boy published by Jonathan Cape in 2007 (published as The King’s Rifle, Harper Collins in the US in 2009); The Street, Picador, 1999; The Sympathetic Undertaker & Other Dreams, Heinemann, 1994; and The Man Who Came In From The Back Of Beyond, Heinemann, 1993.


To see the trailer and for full production notes, click here

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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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O
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

HOAYS_QuadC_Final.b


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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