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'Half Of A Yellow Sun' Finally Finds A USA Distributor - Early Summer Release Eyed

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 14, 2014 11:21 AM
3 Comments
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Half Of A Yellow Sun

As you'd probably expect for a film like this, international sales have been brisk, as the sales company representing the film, Metro International Entertainment, previously sold UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand rights to Biyi Bandele's Half Of A Yellow Sun - a film adaptation of celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name.

Last fall, Metro revealed that it was fielding "multiple offers" from USA distributors, and we expected a Stateside pickup would be imminent. That was in November. 

Skip ahead a couple of months to news today that Monterey Media (a company I'm unfamiliar with) has picked up USA distribution rights to Half Of A Yellow Sun, in a deal that was negotiated by Metro International’s Natalie Brenner and Monterey Media’s Scott Mansfield

Monterey is eyeing an early summer theatrical release for the film, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, to mixed reviews (read Zeba's critique HERE).

So it finally finds a USA home. Although I'm very curious to learn what other USA distributors were chasing the film, as reported last November, and what tipped the scales in Monterey's favor.

I did some research on the company to learn that its library isn't full of films that most of you would be familiar - maybe it's most recognizable recent work is the drama Between Us, which was featured on this site last year. It stars Taye DiggsJulia Stiles, Melissa George and David Harbour, in an adaptation of a 2004 Off-Broadway play written by Joe Hortua, and directed by Dan Mirvish. 

They also released another Chiwetel Ejiofor film - End Game, the 2009 South Africa-set political thriller in which Ejiofor played Thabo MbekiWilliam Hurt co-starred.

The long-awaited, much-anticipated Half Of A Yellow Sun is now in their care; now we wait and see how the film's release is handled. If anything, an Oscar win for Chiwetel would certainly boost interested in the film. But that's a big "if."

Biyi Bandele's feature film directorial debut, stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton, John BoyegaAnika Noni RoseJoseph Mawle and Genevieve Nnaji, in a drama that weaves together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of civil war, with a newly independent 1960s Nigeria as the backdrop.

Produced by Bafta award-winner Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland) and Gail Ega (The Constant Gardner), the film is a British/Nigerian co-production and was shot at Tinapa Film Studio in Nigeria and in the UK.

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3 Comments

  • LeonRaymond | January 14, 2014 5:51 PMReply

    We need to promote films like this with a "No end in sight attitude" A get folks a chance to know the film exist. We need to make BLACK FILM a house hold word in every house hold. And we need to honor more of our Black actors and actresses. if you watched the Golden Globes hopefully if finally got into your damn brain that Hollywood will find any way possible to not recognize Black folk in way shape or form. And stop being afraid of the term "BLACK HOLLYWOOD" we need to do for us and us all alone. Hollywood is Lilly white and in their way of thinking they will always only allow 2 to 3 Black folk to slide under the door. We need to honor our Black, Blue Black dark creamy Black, Light Black, Red Black, Coal Black, in any way we can and be proud of BLACK HOLLYWOOD. it's not a stigma it's us creating shit with out them and with out them in mind.

  • Barefootoracle | January 15, 2014 1:27 PM

    YES!!! YES!!! YES!!!

  • filmloverladyeo | January 14, 2014 4:26 PMReply

    They're already mishandling the film. Why isn't the film in PAFF? Why wasn't it in African Diaspora Film Festival? As usual with international Black films handled by non-Black companies, the film doesn't have a large promotional budget and what it has isn't spent in the Black community to increase awareness among Black folks. So a hand-full of non-Black people show up to see the film and they tell us, we're not interested in it. Bring on another RoCom or SOUL PLANE. That's what Black folks like to see. The fact is, these films are popular with Black folks because they are promoted to Black folks.

    I want to know, how much of the promotion budget will be focused on getting a Black audience? After all END GAME and BETWEEN US, aren't exactly well known titles.

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