Top Nigerian movie to open film festival

HARARE - Half of a Yellow Sun, a feature film by United Kingdom-based Nigerian Biyi Bandele, will be the main highlight of the 13th International Images Film Festival (IIFF) that will run in Harare from August 15 to 23.

The 111 minute-long film, based on an award winning novel on Nigeria’s Biafra civil war that took place from 1967 to 1970, features top British actress Thandie Newton who was born to a Zimbabwean mother and award-winning actor Chiwetelu Umeadi “Chiwetel” Ejiofor.

Half of a Yellow Sun was only approved last month by Nigerian censorship authorities more than a year after it was completed.

Nigerian authorities were reluctant to approve a film that focuses on the war that resulted mainly from economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions between the Hausas and the Igbos.

The censorship authorities expressed fears that revisiting a war in which one million civilians died from famine and fighting would re-incite ethnic tension.

IIFF public relations officer Charmaine Mujeri was delighted to have managed to secure the internationally-acclaimed movie written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and directed by Biyi Bandele.

Half of a Yellow Sun will mark the opening for the International Images Film Festival for Women on August 15, 2014 at Ster Kinekor Eastgate,” Mujeri said.

“Way before the film was approved for screening in Nigeria, the film had already qualified for screening here in its original state.”

Chinedu Nwosu, a Zimbabwe-based Nigerian businessperson said the attempted gagging of Half of a Yellow Sun was unfortunate.

“Artists should be allowed to freely express themselves so that society can find a springboard to openly and safely discuss issues often swept under the carpet. I am looking forward to watching the film but at the same time am afraid of the bad memories the film can evoke because when the war occurred I was a small boy,” said Nwosu.

The film festival, which has reportedly attracted guests from countries like China, United Kingdom and Denmark, will use such venues as the Book Café, Alliance Francaise and Ster Kinekor Eastgate.

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