Starz to Air HALF OF A YELLOW SUN with Chiwetel Ejiofor this Fall
Starz, in an acquisition from Monterey Media, will exclusively debut the U.S. television premiere of the award-winning film, Half of a Yellow Sun, starring Academy Award(R) nominee and five-time Golden Globe(R) nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor, this fall on Starz IN BLACK and its associated Starz ON DEMAND and Starz PLAY online services. Prior to its television debut on the premium network, the film has screened steadily within the festival circuit including the Toronto International Film Festival, AFI Fest, African Film Festival New York and more. Monterey Media recently debuted the film to theatrical audiences in the US with a New York premiere on Friday, May 16th, followed by release in select theaters nationwide including Los Angeles (May 23rd premiere date), Chicago and other major U.S. cities.
Even before its theatrical debut, the film garnered an array positive support, from artists such as Beyoncé, who has dedicated a portion of her official Beyoncé website to promote the film, as well as news coverage surrounding the controversy behind the Nigerian film council's recent banning of the film to public audiences. Events involving the controversy have been chronicled in the press including an editorial in The New York Times and in an op-ed from the novel's author in the New Yorker.
Based on the award-winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun is a romantic drama set in the backdrop of 1960s Nigeria during the country's turbulent civil war. The film centers around the diverging destinies of two sisters, Olanna (played by Thandie Newton) and Kainene (played by Anika Noni Rose) who are glamorous twins from a wealthy Nigerian family. Upon returning to a privileged city life in newly independent 1960s Nigeria after their expensive English education, the two women make very different choices. Olanna shocks her family by going to live with her lover, the "revolutionary professor" Odenigbo (portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his devoted houseboy Ugwu (played by John Boyega) in the dusty university town of Nsukka; Kainene turns out to be a fiercely successful businesswoman when she takes over the family interests, and surprises even herself when she falls in love with Richard (portrayed by Joseph Mawle), an English writer. Preoccupied by their romantic entanglements, and a Betrayal between the sisters, the events of their life seem to loom larger than politics. However, they become caught up in the events of the Nigerian civil war, in which the lgbo people fought an impassioned struggle to establish Biafra as an independent republic, ending in chilling violence which shocked the entire world. Half of a Yellow Sun takes the sisters and their lovers on a journey through the war which is powerful, intensely emotional and, as the response of readers around the world has shown, it is a story which can touch everyone's heart.
Kevin Kasha, Head of Acquisitions for Starz, said, "Starz is pleased to partner with Monterey Media to acquire the exclusive U.S. premium television rights to Half of a Yellow Sun, a film that is yet another example of Nigeria's thriving film industry. We are honored to premiere and showcase a film across our family of Starz channels and services that encourages reflection, sparks dialogue surrounding poignant historical moments, and at times may parallel histories with contemporary society. The movie captures compelling narratives about human relationships through the lens of war with incredible performances from a stellar cast including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose."
Thandie Newton (For Colored Girls, The Pursuit of Happiness, Mission Impossible II) who plays Olanna and Anika Noni Rose (For Colored Girls, Dreamgirls, The Princess and the Frog) who portrays Kainene, star alongside Chiwetel Ejiofor as Odenigbo, a revolutionary professor. The international cast includes Joseph Mawle (Richard), John Boyega (Ugwu) and Onyeka Onwenu (Mama).
Released by Monterey Media, Half of a Yellow Sun is written and directed by Biyi Bandele, based on the novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; the executive producer is Yewande Sadiku and the producer is Andrea Calderwood. Filmed at Tinapa Studios an on location in Calabar, Nigeria and at Shepperton Studios in London; Co-produced by Shareman Media Limited, The British Film Limited and Yellow Sun Limited.