Half of a Yellow Sun

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There was no vision for the opening sequence when we saw the first assembly. There was, however, a need for the audience to know where Nigeria is, and to set up the hi-life mood of a hopeful and colourful Africa of the 1960s.

The solution surfaced with the idea of a glitter ball spinning, an iconic disco image of the era, representing both the world and lives turning as it changes colour. It captured an upbeat and seductive mood, later matched with a great track from singer Miriam Makeba which brilliantly enhances the emotions.  

After homing in visually on Nigeria the film bursts into life with a scene of fireworks exploding in the Lagos sky, before mixing into the opening party scene.

The whole sequence was shot live action.

Director Biyi Bandele's Half of a Yellow Sun, edited by the prolific Chris Gill, tells the story of sisters Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) returning home to 1960s Nigeria, where they soon diverge on different paths. As civil war breaks out, political events loom larger than their differences as they join the fight to establish an independent republic.

Produced by Andrea Calderwood, the film also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and John Boyega (Attack the Block).

Directed by
Biyi Bandele

Production Co.
Slate Films

Release Date
May 16, 2014 (USA)