Ban on ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’: Censors Board may destroy Nollywood —Expert

Posted by News Express | 26 April 2014 | 4,122 times

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An international film expert has raised the alarm over refusal of the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to approve the hit film Half of a Yellow Sun to be released to the public in Nigeria. NVFCB has deliberately delayed the film’s certification for over a week, forcing a postponement of the film’s public release in the country until next week.

Half of a Yellow Sun is set in the Nigeria-Biafra War of 1967-70. It is adapted for film by Biyi Bandele from a novel of the same title by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The film stars a galaxy of acting icons, including Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor and has been well received across the world.

“I understand that the DG of the NFVCB, in particular, feels that the film may be too ‘political’ and remind people about the civil war,” one well-connected source said. The source, however, faulted this line of thinking, pointing out that in reality, Half of a Yellow Sun is about the relationships between the four principal characters against the backdrop of the civil war. It is a story of love, forgiveness, betrayal and redemption.”

An international film expert connected with the project lamented the sad turn of events, warning that NVFCB may be unwittingly digging the grave of Nollywood. The source, who would not want to be named, said:  

Half of a Yellow Sun continues to be well received all over the world and is eagerly awaited in Nigeria. We have achieved distribution of the Film in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Middle East and the Airlines. It was released in the UK 2 weeks ago and has been doing well in the cinemas; it is scheduled for public release in the US from May 16. It is the first Nigerian film to have achieved wide distribution in many countries.

“The Film was invited to officially screen at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival, the London Film Festival, and several other international film festivals. We’ve even been invited to screen it at the UN in Geneva on the 28th to “remind diplomats of the importance of the film industry on a global scale”. The screening is aimed at UN ambassadors in Geneva, as well as their staff and the senior management of the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organisation.

“FilmOne, our Nigerian distributor, ‎is working with the team at the NFVCB to get them to rate the film and authorise the public release in Nigeria, but I understand the DG herself has strong reservations about the film.

“‎We believe not allowing the legal public release of the film in Nigeria will send very negative signals about the prospects of investing in the film industry for projects on this scale. It will also jeopardise the investments of all our investors, including the Bank of Industry. Without appropriate funding, Nollywood filmmakers will not be able to elevate their craft. Given the keen public anticipation of Half of a Yellow Sun, we also believe that not allowing the film legally will only allow illegal operators to release their version to meet the public demand.”


Source: News Express

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