Chiwtel Ejiofor,Wale Ojo and Onyeka Onwenu speaks on Half of a yellow sun

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The epoch-making movie, Half Of A Yellow Sun(HOAYS) would be out in the cinema this Friday the 25th of April 2014. There has been talk that the 10 Million Dollar movie would prove to the world that we can do a professional and international movie that would earn the attention of the world. The movie became the first Nigerian movie to premiere at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada.

The movie which is a collaboration between Hollywood and Nollywood stars BAFTA award winner and Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejoifor and Nigerian number one 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, which is an adaptation of Chimamanda Adiche’s best-selling award winning novel was translated in over 30 languages. For the first time, the movie became the first one that would show in main stream cinema   The movie would premiere in different parts of the world UK, USA, Middle East, Portugal, Australia and New Zealand.

The combination of the cast is Nigerian home-based and international which has its obvious reason from the plot of the story and all the combinations of characters are of great commercial value.

Recently, the premiere of the movie held in Lagos and had a bulk of these stars which included Chiwetel and Genevieve. The movie was directed by UK-Nigerian based playwright Biyi Bandele and produced by Andrea Calderwood (HBO’s Generation Kill, The Last King of Scotland: winner of three BAFTAs and an Oscar) and hopefully HOAYS.

 

KENE MKPARU: he is the CEO of Filmone, the distributor of HOAYS. (it is an honor to work on this type of project)                                                                                              

Would you say HOAYS would open new grounds for Nollywood? Yes. It is the beginning of a new level of film production. HOAYS is achieving and will achieve great success.

What should people look forward to and expect in HOAYS? 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. HOAYS tells that Nigerian films can match any international movie and can match any Hollywood production. They should look to see an entertaining movie.

How much do you think HOAYS would make? In Nigeria cinemas it will make a million dollars

What is the difference of HOAYS movie to other movies in the cinema? Well, there is no difference with a lot of Hollywood good film showing and HOAYS also matches up to the Hollywood movie shown and has international produced standard. To the Nigeria films showing, this is totally a different one, it would wow viewers and it would sure be remarkable, there is a high level of professionalism and production.

Of what significance is HOAYS? It’s the beginning of new possibilities and Nigerian film financing, it is the first time there would be 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 the project of HOAYS? It is an honor 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.

 

WALE OJO, an actor played the role of “Chief kongi” HOAYS sets a high benchmark for others to follow

 What new grounds would HOAYS open for Nollywood? I would hope that HOAYS would open up new grounds for Nollywood by inspiring creative and talented film-makers to go out there and make a film that will match the technical excellence displayed in HOAYS. It pushes the boundaries in terms of higher production levels and sets a high benchmark for others to follow.

                                                        

 What should people look forward to in seeing HOAYS? 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 vent their views about the film on public blogs and papers and scream to the rafters as to how much they love the film so as to attract greater audiences to the film.

 

Is HOAYS Of any significance to Nigeria? HOAYS 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 educational 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. HOAYS 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.

 

CHIWETEL, played a major role of “Odenigbo”. (Half Of A Yellow Sun is an international story)

Chiwetel Ejiofor was in Nigeria for the movie premiere of HOAYS during the last weekend, he then identified with Half of a Yellow Sun as an international story. According to Chiwetel, “we must understand that it isn’t just a story about Nigeria. It has its implications and its relevance across the world. It is also an international story”. He further revealed that it was the then Biafra war that led to his birth in the UK .

Interestingly, there is connection between the Biafran war and his birth “the Biafra 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 why 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.” Luckily he played “Odenigbo” in the setting of the movie.  “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” he said.

 

 

 

ONYEKA ONWENU: played the role of mama, “Odenigbo’s mother”. RUSH!!! Go and see the movie.

With movies like HOAYS 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 wanna do go work. As you know am sure you know that the script of HOAYS was too good. Basically am looking for good scripts, am at a point in my life and in my career that I just wanna do good work

Of what significance is HOAYS? 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 war. I was a young teenage at that time, so the experienced marked my life. It something that needs to be told, it’s something that we need to talk about, deal with it and put it aside once and for all, if that’s possible. But not dealing with it is not helping this country. So for me it was pathetic and it brought me some closure.

What opportunity would you say HOAYS would give to Nollywood? The best, it would 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 has in HOAYS has been widely commended. Would you prefer to sing or act for us? Laughs, I love doing all. I can’t say I choose one over the other, am grateful to God for giving me the ability to do all these. You know I just look at the whole thing and say my goodness and say who am i? that He gave me this, I give Him all the glory, 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 wanna choose one over the other

What are your impressions on the other cast? Everyone, Everyone,Everyone!!! did so well, for some reason 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 HOAYS? Go and see it. Rush!!!  Take your whole family, take your friend. Give it has a gift to someone just make sure, just make sure that you go and 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 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 again. What an exquisite love story it was, it is a beautiful story

What is your opinion on the 10 million dollar that was invested in producing the movie?  When I hear this I just think of the hardship Yewande went through and her steadfastness, commitment and focus. She was able to do it and am very grateful and I hope that next time it would not be as difficult has that. there are many more stories to be told.

From an actor’s point of view, what are your thoughts on the movie? It is an exquisite piece of work, like I said before the acting, the directing, the producing, everything just jelled 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, am grateful for the opportunity that’s the way I look at it. onyeka owenu HOAYSwale ojo

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