Half of a Yellow Sun is a 2013 Nigerian drama based on the novel of the same name. It is directed by Biyi Bandele and captures the love story following two sisters who must endure the trials of the Nigerian Civil War, and the many interwoven stories of their family and loved ones. This movie premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2013 and did very well. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Genevieve Nnaji, Thandie Newton, Onyeka Onwenu, and OC Ukeje. The film includes some powerful themes and plotlines that make it a great film of 2013.
The epic love story weaves together the lives of many people during the Nigerian Civil War. It is the type of story you will not soon forget, and the excellent acting, directing and cinematography really brings the epic novel to life. The film is set during the mid to late 1960’s, when two twin sisters decide to return home to Nigeria after studying in England. There, they make some life choices that will forever affect their lives and those of their family. One sister, Olanna, decides to move in with her lover, a professor and his houseboy. The other sister, Kainene, goes the other way and decides to put her energies into becoming a successful businesswoman. She takes over the family business and falls in love with an English writer along the way.
The stories of these girls and their families intertwine in such a way that you will remain entranced throughout the film. Their stories are woven in with the turbulence of the Nigerian Civil War, with shocking violence and betrayal that brings an emotional element to the story that you will never forget.
The film was actually shot in Nigeria, over a span of five weeks. During the shooting time, malaria and typhoid proved to be huge challenges. Several of the cast and crew members became sick, which delayed production. A tight budget, however, meant that the shooting had to go on. They originally had eight weeks to film the movie but the budget cut it down to five.
The author of the original novel was very happy with the production of the film. She feels it represents her idea very well, has great acting and cinematography and she loved that it was filmed in Nigeria.
Half of a Yellow Sun premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2013 and is set to hit theaters in April 2014. If you were there at the premiere, you might have seen Tunde Folawiyo at the Half of a Yellow Sun Premiere. Many people gathered to watch some of the best new independent films of the year. Half of a Yellow Sun is rumored to be the most expensive Nigerian film ever, and luckily it has been very well received. This film has been a great catalyst for Nigerian film in the future, setting the way for more successful films. Many young filmmakers from Nigeria can find inspiration from this film and begin to create their own ideas.