Half of a Yellow Sun saga ends with NFVCB certification; August 1 release date set

Posted: July 9, 2014 in art/entertainment

After over three months of stand-off and suspense arising from non-classification and certification by the Nigerian film and movie regulatory body, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) over content, the producer and marketers of the film Half of a Yellow Sun have announced August 1 as a new date for the nationwide premiere of the film.

This development follows the eventual classification and subsequent grading of the film by the NFVCB which had slapped an ‘18’ viewer classification on the much-awaited, multi-award winning film that stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Genevieve Nnaji, Onyeka Onwenu, Thandie Newton, Zack Orji, and OC Ukeje

According to Shareman Media, the Nigerian producers, and FilmOne Distribution, the Nigerian distributors of the feature film, in a release made available to M2A, the film will be available at major cinemas across the country from August 1, just as they thanked Nigerians ‘for their patience and support’ all through the course of the waiting period.

The film Half of a Yellow Sun film’s nationwide premiere was originally slated for last April 25 and later shifted to May 2 after which followed an indefinite postponement.

Directed by critically acclaimed novelist and playwright Biyi Bandele and produced by British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards winning producer, Andrea Calderwood, Half of a Yellow Sun is based on the novel of the same name written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

It was shot in Calabar, the Cross River State capital at the Tinapa Studios.

The film’s marketers and distributors in the country had on the eve of the its initial premiere issued a statement reportedly rescheduling the event on grounds of non-certification of the highly-acclaimed film adaptation of the award-winning book of the same title written by Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie, by the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).

“The highly anticipated release of Half of a Yellow Sun in Nigeria has been postponed due to delays in obtaining certification from the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board for the public release of the film. Subject to obtaining the certification of the Board, the film is now rescheduled for release on 2nd May 2014,” read the statement issued jointly by the Shareman Media, the Nigerian producers, and FilmOne Distribution, the Nigerian distributors of the feature film.

On the eve of the rescheduled date, again the Half of a Yellow Sun marketer came up with another release this time postponing the film’s nationwide premiere indefinitely.

“The public release of Half of a Yellow Sun in Nigeria remains postponed due to the fact that the National Film and Video Censors Board has not yet certified the film. The release date will be announced once the Board has certified the film for release to the public.

“The producers and distributors of the film regret this continuing delay. We are deeply appreciative of the overwhelming interest shown in the film by Nigerians everywhere. Please be assured that we are doing everything within our means to achieve certification and release as soon as possible.”

The long stand-off between the film producers and the regulatory authorities also threw up questions of reluctance by film producers in the country to seek certification and copyrighting of their intellectual properties before marketing their works with the NFVCB at the same time decrying the negligence which it had described as unhealthy for the industry.

The cancellation indeed had cost millions of naira in losses to the marketing firms in terms of pre-arranged venues and events that had been lined up as pre/post-event programmes.

Head of Operations of the NFVCB, Mr Cornel Agim, had noted that many film marketers in the movie business were not equipped with the right knowledge of film production and distribution, adding that some of the film marketers went into marketing of foreign movies without obtaining the relevant information and permission from constituted government authorities.

“When you negotiate for a right, you go to the Copyright Commission and authenticate it, then come to NFVCB and we give you the licence to sell it,” he said.

Agbi who also expressed concern about the rising trend of unlicensed marketers in the film business, said that the unpleasant movies in the market were made possible by the activities of some of the illegal marketers, who evaded the certification process of the NFVCB.

“Why not take a licence and do the right thing? Why should you just go and shoot a film and put it into the market? Do you know whether the film is going to cause a riot? If we don’t check them, it might bring a lot of chaos. So, these films have to come to us for proper censoring and rating. There are films that are supposed to be shown only in the night but people don’t know. So, our advice is for them (marketers) to do the right thing. If they don’t know how to do it, we will teach them how to do it,” he said.

While the Half of a Yellow Sun producers have continued to maintain innocence over their role in the whole episode with the NFVCB, the fact remains that the huge costs incurred by them would not have been an issue if a certification had been obtained prior to embarking on a world press conference to announce a nationwide release date and even organizing private screenings of the film in various cinemas in the country.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s