It was announced today that the Nigerian drama Half of a Yellow Sun starring Bafta award-winner Thandie Newton (Mission: Impossible II, The Pursuit of Happyness, Crash) and three-time Golden Globe nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men, American Gangster, Salt), has been selected as the opening film of the 2013 trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff), which takes place September 17th – October 1st.
The screening at ttff (now in its 8th year) will serve as the Caribbean premiere and mark just the second time audiences are able to see Half of a Yellow Sun, following its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival just a few weeks prior.
Half of a Yellow Sun is an adaptation of celebrated Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s best-selling novel of the same title, which won the Orange Broadbrand Prize for Fiction.
Set in 1960s Nigeria, the story brings audiences into a country torn apart by civil war and shows how the interwoven lives of four central characters intersect during a struggle to establish the independent republic of Biafra.
The film boasts an impressive supporting cast that includes Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, The Princess and the Frog), John Boyega (Attack the Block), Joseph Mawle (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Awakening, Game of Thrones), Genevieve Nnaji, and Nigerian singer and actress Onyeka Onwenu.
Directed by acclaimed Nigerian playwright Biyi Bandele, Half of a Yellow Sun is a product of “Nollywood” — the moniker bestowed on Nigeria’s booming film industry that produces over 2,000 movies a year and has become the third most valuable movie industry in the world behind only Hollywood and Bollywood.
Produced by Bafta award-winner Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland) and Gail Egan (The Constant Gardner), the film is a British/Nigerian co-production and was shot at Tinapa Film Studio in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom.
“It’s a real honour to have Half of a Yellow Sun invited to be the opening night film of the trinidad+ tobago film festival,” said Calderwood, who will attend the opening. “The Festival has always been a great supporter of this project, and as a groundbreaking film from top Nigerian talent telling this epic story on an international scale, this is the perfect way to introduce it to audiences in the Caribbean as we take the film out to the world.”
“We are proud that Half of a Yellow Sun will open the Festival,” added Bruce Paddington, Founder and Festival Director, ttff. “This continues our mandate to not only show films from the Caribbean and the diaspora but to also celebrate films made in Africa, one of our heritage regions.”
Opening night events for the ttff/13 will take place on the evening of Tuesday, September 17th at Queen’s Hall. The Festival will run through Tuesday, October 1st.
Additional announcements pertaining to the opening night and the rest of the Festival, including the full lineup of films, will be made in the coming weeks.
Photo caption: Image from Half of a Yellow Sun, featuring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Odenigbo) and Thandie Newton (Olanna)