By Deborah Ayoade
There has been much controversy surrounding the Nigerian release date of the highly anticipated film adaptation, of award wining writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s titled novel Half of a Yellow Sun.
The film was originally set to be released in Nigerian Cinemas on 25th April 2014 but was rescheduled to debut on Friday 2nd May 2014. However, many anxious Nigerians remain disappointed as they still await the films opening continue, as yet again the film release date has been postponed with no official announcement of an official date.
According to the UK based director of Half of a Yellow Sun, Biyi Bandele, the cause of this delay lies in the hands of the Nigerian Film and Video Censor Board, who have yet to grant the movie a certificate approving its viewing in Nigeria.
Half of a Yellow Sun has made history as Nollywood’s most expensive movie, the first African film to get release dates in a number of countries around the world and to be shown at a number of film festivals around the globe. The film has already been released and seen by many in the UK and US. Leaving one to think why is it that a film based on and made in Nigeria, which holds many merits, being refused approval by the board?
According to director Biyi Bandele who shared his thoughts in an article on CNN.com, the film has essentially been banned by the Nigerian Film and Video Censorship Board. The director states he is unsure when his film will be receiving its rating certificate, therefore, leaving no official release date. He divulges on further to say “I’ve also heard tell that the censorship board’s inability to make a decision about a ratings certificate for my film has been brought upon it because of a sudden concern that a movie that depicts scenes from the Biafra war might provoke “tribal violence” in a country that has in recent months been besieged with terrorist bombings and profoundly shaken by the abduction of over 200 school girls by Boko Haram.” Many have rumored this.
The Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board says that they have indeed delayed the film because “it might incite violence in the country” given its subject matter. Specifically concerning scenes that detail the massacres that took place between the Hausa and the Igbos during the Biafran ‘tribal’ war.
Half of a yellow sun is set in the backdrop of the Nigeria’s the civil known as the Biafran War which took place from 1967-1970, when the south-eastern parts of Nigeria tried to secede. The war saw millions of people killed, an innumerable amount of people died from starvation after the federal authorities blocked the breakaway territory that called its self the Republic of Biafra. Following the current situation in Nigeria, it is has been rumored that some of the scenes that depicted the devastation of this conflict have been requested by the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board to be edited out.
Today, Actor and former Actors’ Guild of Nigeria acting President, Segun Arinze called for the resignation of Nigerians Film and Video Censors Board Director General, Patricia Bala. In the statement Mr Arinze states:
“Please tell Madam Patricia Bala of Nigeria Film and Video Censors Board to release the movie Half of a Yellow Sun. She has no reason to hold on to the movie. She has no right to censor the movie only to classify it. She saw it in Canada and even partnered with the producers in Canada during the premiere. What she is doing now is an embarrassment to government and a big insult to our dear industry, Nollywood. We are not in a military regime. She should kindly resign”
The ongoing battle for the release of Half of a Yellow Sun film still commences and it would seem that those living in Nigeria may have to wait a while before its release.
To keep updated with information on the film release, visit http://montereymedia.com/halfofayellowsun/