NIGERIAN cinephiles rejoiced this month as news emerged that "Half of a Yellow Sun", arguably the most ambitious film project in the nation’s history, had received a release date in its own country. For three months the nation’s media censorship board had held up the film, citing vague concerns over its depiction of the nation’s bloody Biafra War.
But that is not what makes the film’s release notable. "Half of a Yellow Sun" was actually released a year ago, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival, then finagling releases in major markets such as Britain before making it back home to Nigeria. It was a strange route for a Nigerian film, given that most of the country’s output consists of cheap productions aimed primarily at a domestic market. But "Half of a Yellow Sun" is a symbol of a new wave of filmmaking and distribution that is changing the way Nigeria’s massive movie industry operates.