Monday, March 31, 2014

Half of A Yellow Sun is Not the First Nigerian Film to Premiere at the Toronto International Festival

 Half of A Yellow Sun is not the first Nigerian film to premiere at the Toronto International Festival
"Half of A Yellow Sun" is not the first Nigerian film to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival as claimed by the principal Executive Producer of the film, Mrs. Yewande Sadiku and published in The Guardian newspaper of Nigeria quoted below.
‘’I want us to see this project as our own. If it succeeds, we all take the credit. I mean for the first time in our history as a nation, a Nigerian story that was funded wholly from here screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. That for me is very huge.’’
Tunde Kelani's "Abeni" was the first Nigerian film to premiere at the TIFF in 2006, followed by Faruk Lasaki's film "Changing Faces" that also premiered at the TIFF the following year.
I reported it on Sola Osofisan's Naijarules on and the full text is quoted below.

Caption: Faruk Lasaki and Okeke Cydrian Osita
Headline: 31st Annual Toronto International Film Festival - Planet Africa
Venue: The Drake Hotel
Location: Toronoto, Canada
Date: September 11, 2006

TIFF 2006 is another visual representation of Nigeria’s greatness – Information and National Orientation Minister
Information and National Orientation Minister, Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr, has described Nigeria’s participation at the ongoing prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2006) as a concrete visual representation of Nigeria’s greatness and a positive outcome of President Obasanjo’s efforts to unlock all barriers undermining Nigeria’s journey to destination.
Mr. Nweke Jnr stated this at the Nigeria Stand in Sutton Place, venue of the film festival, as other participants swarmed the Nigerian stand to appreciate the features of the Nigerian film industry which has been rated the third largest in the world.

 Nigeria’s entry at Toronto 2006 is 'Abeni", a transnational love story from the stable of Mainframe Production, directed by Mr. Tunde Kelani, Nigeria’s ace cinematographer and a patron of Nigeria’s cultural entrepreneurship. An impressive global audience of film critics, journalists and enthusiasts will see "Abeni" at its first public screening on September 14, 2006, at the Royal Ontario Museum. Further screening of the film will also hold for another group of media men and industry enthusiasts on September 15.
The Minister who was evidently pleased by the reception and enthusiasm other participants showed towards Nigeria’s rising film industry said such interests certainly underscore Nigeria’s central role in a changing world and a testimony to how good leadership, right environment and a resourceful citizenry could turn around the fortunes of a nation.

Corroborating the Minister’s statement, Mr. Tunde Kelani, says art and culture remains a major vehicle for telling the Nigerian story, especially within the context of The Heart of Africa Project, a cohesive information programme for the management of Nigeria’s image, the promotion of her brand assets and tackling of the negative attitudes which undermine the image of the nation. Mr. Kelani says this is the focus of Mainframe Production, which has also been invited to submit Nigeria’s entry at FESPACO, a biennial film festival holding in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, February 2007, and solicited for government support to ensure its success. He expressed pleasure at the efforts of the Federal Government to restore the glory and pride of Nigeria as an important member of the global community through its various reforms but he urged the Federal Government to become more involved in goings-on in the film industry in Nigeria.

Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation, who led a team of film producers, directors, marketers and other stakeholders from Nigeria to the Festival says although this is the first time a Nigerian movie is being premiered at TIFF in its thirty-one years history, it is a great outing for Nigeria’s film industry which home video sub-sector is the world’s largest.

Giulla Filippelli, Head, Sales and Industry Office for TIFF 2006, says “we are honoured to have Nigeria participate to showcase her greatness and limitless promises”.

The Festival is also featuring renowned names in global movie and entertainment industry including Al Pacino, Kevin Spacey, WyClef, who spoke glowingly about Nigeria, as well as Nigerian actors and producers in diaspora including American-based ‘Gucci’ and Akin Omotoso, a Nigerian based in South Africa, who is currently directing a movie adaptation of "In the Shadow of a Saint", a book written by Ken Saro-Wiwa Jnr. Next year’s TIFF is expected to premiere more Nigerian films including "Changing Faces", a movie by Faruk Lasaki, a Nigerian film maker who is also attending TIFF 2006. The making of "Changing Faces", is showing today at the Nigerian stand in Sutton Place.

It is good for every literate person and in particular those seen as well educated professionals and stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry to be factual in the information they share with the public to avoid misinformation and misleading the ignorant majority. 

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima,
"Orikinla Osinachi", Author of Children of Heaven, Scarlet Tears of London, Bye, Bye Mugabe, Diary of the Memory Keeper, In the House of Dogs, The Prophet Lied, co-author of "Naked Beauty" and Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, Nigerian Times, Nollywood Mirror and Nollywood Digital.

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