The epoch making movie, Half Of A Yellow Sun will hit the cinemas on Friday, April, 25 2014. There has been speculation that the $10 million movie will prove to the world that we can do a professional and international movie that can earn the attention of the world. The movie became the first Nigerian work to premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Canada.
Half Of A Yellow Sun featured Hollywood and Nollywood stars, BAFTA award winner and Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejoifor and Nigerian super star actress Genevieve Nnaji, OC Ukeje, Zack Orji, Wale Adeojo, Gloria Young, Tina Mba, Hollywood’s finest, Thandie Newton, Anika Rose, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega amongst others. The movie, an adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s best-selling award winning novel was recently premiered in Lagos and had a bulk of the casts which included Chiwetel and OC Ukeje and others in attendance…
Kene is the CEO of Filmone Production, the distributors of the movie…
Do you agree that Half Of A Yellow Sun will open new grounds for Nollywood?
Yes. It is the beginning of a new level of film production. The film is achieving and will achieve greater success.
What should people look forward to in Half Of A Yellow Sun?
They should expect a touching love story set in the time of war. High level film making, it would enable Nigerian film makers step up their game. It tells that Nigerian films can match any international movie and can match any Hollywood production. They should expect an entertaining movie.
How much do you think the movie can make in terms of returns?
In Nigerian cinemas, it will make a million dollars.
What is the difference between this movie and others in the cinemas?
There is no difference with a lot of Hollywood good film showing. Half Of A Yellow Sun also matches up to the Hollywood movie shown and has internationally produced standard. To the Nigeria films showing, this is totally different. It would wow viewers and it would sure be remarkable. There is a high level of professionalism and production.
Of what significance is the movie?
The beginning of new possibilities and Nigerian film financing. It is the first time of proper film financing in Nigeria that invited a lot of corporate bodies and organizations. The success is the beginning and a good starting point for others.
How does it feel working on this project?
It is an honour to have this kind of project to work with. We are delighted; it is a great business
possibility. It is great and exciting, we are grateful to be part of it. That is the way we should release movies in the country and soon other good movies would be released this way.
Chiwetel played a major role of Odenigbo in the movie. He was in Nigeria for the premiere last week…
How will you describe the movie setting?
We must understand that it isn’t just a story about Nigeria. It has its implications and its relevance across the world. It is an international story. The Biafran war was a very seminal part of my upbringing and my family history. In fact, I will say that the Biafran war was the reason I was born in London and not Nigeria. It was as a result of the war that my parents left Nigeria. It was something I always remembered being talked about in my household, and in my family. Years later, I spoke to my grandfather about my mother’s side. He spoke about his experiences between 1960 and 1970. It’s amazing to be able to tell a story like this, which I think is a rare story for people to hear outside of Nigeria.
How does it feel to play the lead role in the movie?
I feel really excited about starring in the film. It is one film that I am deeply passionate about.
How easy was it relating to the role you played?
I think I fit in well, considering my background and my knowledge of the role properly.
Wale played the role of Chief Kongi in the blockbuster…
What new grounds would this film open for Nollywood?
I hope that it would open up new grounds for Nollywood by inspiring creative and talented film makers to go out there and make films that will match the technical excellence displayed in Half Of A Yellow Sun. It pushed the boundaries in terms of higher production levels and set a high benchmark for others to follow.
What should people look forward to seeing this movie?
I think they should look forward to seeing excellent actors bringing life to a great book.
Why must I see the movie, HOAYS in the cinema?
Just to support the movement of making high quality Nigerian films alone. It is definitely a must see. Also, people should not be afraid to criticize the movie and make their own comments as to how they see the film. Constructive criticism is a healthy thing and should be encouraged. People should open up on their views about the film on public blogs and papers and scream to the rafters how much they love the film so as to attract greater audiences.
Is the movie of any significance to Nigeria?
Yes, it is highly significant to Nigeria. It speaks of a troubled time in our history, wonderfully exemplified by Chimamanda in her book. It is a film that is educative as well as entertaining. We need a movement in Nigerian film where people can begin to view the past, present and future of Nigeria through cinematic lens. It presents such an opportunity that should be grabbed whole heartedly by a large number of people. The film deserves great exposure to the greatest number of people.
She played the role of Mama, Odenigbo’s mother in the movie…
With movies like this, are we going to see more of you on our screen?
Most definitely. I have rejected a lot of scripts not because of money but because they just weren’t good enough. You get to a stage in your life and in your career you just want to do good works. I am sure you know that the script of Half Of A Yellow Sun was too good. Basically, I am looking for good scripts. I am at a point in my life and in my career that I just want to do good works.
Of what significance is Half Of A Yellow Sun?
It tells the story that needs to be told. It’s a love story set in the time of war. And not just any war, but the Nigerian civil war. I was a teenage at that time. So the experience marked my life. It is something that needs to be told, it is something that we need to talk about, deal with it and put it aside once and for all, if it’s possible. But not dealing with it is not helping this country.
What opportunities would you say are there for Nollywood with this movie?
The best. It will raise the bar, technically and in every way. It’s just the best that we have done. Let’s continue from there and do greater things.
Your performance in the film has been widely commended. Would you prefer to sing or act for us?
I love doing all. I can’t say I choose one over the other. I am grateful to God for giving me the ability to do all these. I just look at the whole thing and say, my goodness and who am I that He gave me these? I give Him all the glory. I am so grateful to God for giving me all this ability and He is given me all the opportunities that have come my way. I don’t want to choose one over the other.
What is your impression about the other cast?
Everyone did so well. For some reasons, people are likening up to my character but everyone did a great job. Thandie was exquisite, I don’t think anyone could have played that character as well as she did. Chiwetel was impressive, Genevieve was exquisite. I liked her performance. Gloria was just wonderful, Anika, to the young man, Boyega – every one was just perfect and wonderful.
What advice do you have for Nigerians concerning the movie?
Go and see it. Rush, take your whole family, take your friends. Give it as a gift to someone, just make sure that you see it. There is no dull moment for screening effect and I think that the director and producers ought to be commended. Yewande Sadiku and Andrea, I keep thanking them and I remain grateful to my lovely sweet daughter the author, Chimamanda. My children and I are grateful for this great book for bringing this story to life that generations upfront would know something about what happened during the Nigerian civil war, would be able to learn from it and hopefully will not ever repeat it. What an exquisite love story. It is a beautiful story.
What is your opinion on the $10 million that was invested in producing the movie?
When I heard this I just thought of the hardship Yewande went through and her steadfastness, commitment and focus. She was able to do it and I am very grateful and I hope that next time it would not be as difficult as that. There are many more stories to be told.
From an actor’s point of view, what are your thoughts about the movie?
It is an exquisite piece of work. Like I said, the acting, directing, producing, everything was just okay and came together and we are grateful for the opportunity to tell it. It was just a plus to have worked with all the people I encountered. I am grateful for the opportunity. That’s the way I look at it.