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VIDEO: “Nollywood” Brings Adaptation of Adichie’s “Half of a Yellow Sun”

If you can’t find the art you want, make it yourself.

That was famously the mindset of Jay-Z, when the rapper started Roc-A-Fella Records in 1995, and that DIY approach animates “Nollywood,” the Nigerian film industry.

Approximately 1,000 Nigerian movies are produced each year, surpassing the 800 films churned out annually in the U.S. For innovators everywhere, digital innovations have lowered technological barriers and production costs. Without a formal distribution model, Nigerian film prospers—many movies are watched at home in a nation of few theaters.

One of this year’s most anticipated projects is the adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies novel Half of a Yellow Sun, scheduled for release in November 2013. The book won an Anisfield-Wolf award for fiction in 2007. (Adichie’s new title, Americanah, went on sale this month.)

The film is in the hands of first-time director Biyi Bandele and stars Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Olanna and Odenigbo, lovers caught in the midst of the Biafran war. Fans eager to see the work on screen can get a small clip from one of Adichie’s recent interviews (it starts at 28 seconds):

A recent Washington Post story on Nollywood’s expansion to the United States explores Nigeria’s film ascendancy. Director John Uche says, “Nigerians are considered the best writers in Africa, following the griot tradition in West Africa. It is a culture of storytelling. We are taking that culture into film. What do they say? ‘Nobody can tell your story better than you.’”

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  1. […] Nigerian novelist and playwright, has ushered the project from script to screen.    Unlike most productions in Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, “Half of A Yellow Sun” has serious Hollywood power in […]

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