Magazine article Screen International

The Importance of Nigerian Film Half a Yellow Sun

Magazine article Screen International

The Importance of Nigerian Film Half a Yellow Sun

Article excerpt

BAFTA award-winning British film producer Andrea Calderwood (Last King of Scotland) reveals how the release of Nigerian love story Half a Yellow Sun has been postponed in the country.

One of the things I learned when producing Half of a Yellow Sun in Nigeria are the number of uses for the word "challenge". Nigerians describe everything from a minor setback to a major catastrophe as a challenge, and deal with all of these challenges with a resourcefulness and good humour, which continually impressed me as we were making the film.

There were so many obstacles to getting Half of a Yellow Sun made - from customs closures, to water shortages, to typhoid and malaria epidemics, to financing challenges (see, it's catching) - that there were many times that the film could easily not have happened. What is hard to get across - and indeed some of the reviewers, judging the film from a much more complacent place, have missed - is just how groundbreaking Half of a Yellow Sun is.

There has never been a film made on this scale in Nigeria, and to make an epic love story, set against the backdrop of the Nigerian civil war, was hugely ambitious. It took the support and collaboration of the BFI and Lipsync in the UK with our intrepid Nigerian executive producers and investors, together with the extraordinary dedication of our cast and an extremely committed technical team who brought their skills from UK, New Zealand, South Africa and Nigeria, to see the film through.

Writer/director Biyi Bandele needed sheer determination and constant creative inventiveness to see his vision realized, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, having trusted us with her novel, has never wavered in her support, and loves the film we made.

Most importantly, this is a story, which has never been told on screen, and it was for that reason that everyone went so far out of their comfort zones to help make the film happen. …

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