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Exec Producer & Director Of 'Half Of A Yellow Sun' Talk Film Adaptation (Financing, Casting)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 4, 2013 at 9:59AM

I'm actually humored by all the international attention Nollywood has received in recent years - an industry that's been around for almost 3 decades, as the rest of the world catches up to it.
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Still from 'Half Of A Yellow Sun'
Still from 'Half Of A Yellow Sun'

I'm actually humored by all the international attention Nollywood has received in recent years - an industry that's been around for almost 3 decades, as the rest of the world catches up to it.

I'm working on a round-table discussion with Nigerian filmmakers for S&A; it's just a matter of getting them all together at a time that works for all of us, considering the differing time zones (some are in Nigeria; in the UK; the USA - Los Angeles & New York; South Africa).

But it's about time I did something like that, presenting the past, present and future of the industry, from the firsthand experiences of those who have been, and continue to be on the front-lines, so to speak - especially as the industry seems to be on the verge of some kind of paradigm shift, or at least, massive global expansion.

In the meantime, I thought this new Al Jazeera interview with the executive producer and writer/director of the film adaptation of Half Of A Yellow Sun - Yewande Sadiku and Biyi Bandele - was worth sharing.

I think this is the first substantive interview with both of them that I've seen, since the film went into production. 

As reported, the film is one of the most expensive Nigerian-made films ever made (if not the most expensive), and was funded almost entirely by Nigerian investors. In the interview, executive producer Yewande Sadiku - herself an investment banker who used her skills to finance the bulk of the film locally - and director Biyi Bandele discuss not only the production of the film, but also Nigerian cinema, its present and future.

The host also asks them why they cast British actors in the film, as opposed to local actors. And they do respond to the question. I'll let you find out how they answer it by watching the interview, which is embedded below.

Still no word on where and when Half of a Yellow Sun, adapted from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s award-winning book of the same name, is going to make its world premiere. I thought it was a shoe-in for Cannes, but, it won't be debuting there. And I still think it's primed for an international film festival premiere. I don't expect a USA film festival debut. So, looking further out, the Toronto Film Festival seems like the next best fit, and that doesn't come until September. There's also the London Film Festival, which would actually make sense as well, given that the cast is made up of mostly British actors, and there's a heavy Nigerian presence in the UK. That festival doesn't happen until October. 

So it looks like we could be waiting a while to see the film. 

Also, keep in mind that it doesn't have distribution yet - definitely not USA distribution. So, depending on when it premieres, Most audiences around the world may not see it until 2014.

I just hope it's a good film. The short 40-second clip that I posted a couple of weeks ago - the only clip that's been made public - certainly wasn't enough for me to make any calls on it. Although Thandie Newton's accent did concern me. I just want to see more, and hope a trailer debuts sooner than later.

Here's the Al Jazeera interview with the exec producer and writer/director. They come in at around the 8-minute mark. It starts with Franco Sacchi, the Italian filmmaker who directed the documentary, Welcome to Nollywood:


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