It’s been at least 2 years since my last piece on this feature, which I’ve now learned (thanks to a new trailer alert on my iTunes feed), will be released in the USA after all, courtesy of Canada-based production/distribution company Entertainment One.
A quick recap…
In 2012, it was announced that Nigerian filmmaker Jeta Amata decided to rethink and reshoot his political corruption thriller on the ramifications of destructive American corporate action in the volatile oil-rich Niger Delta region. Initially titled "Black Gold," and is now called "Black November," it’s one of a growing list of recent USA/Nigeria-style collabs, which stars Mickey Rourke, Vivica Fox, Kim Basinger, Anne Heche, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Sarah Wayne Callies, Mbong Amata, Hakeem Kae Kazim, and several others.
Why did Amata want to rethink and reshoot the film? His words: "It had to be more current. It had to adhere strictly to what was going on right now – the Arab spring and all that… It was a huge challenge that the Arabs posed to the rest of the world, especially the people in the Niger delta. If they can look at their dictators and say, ‘No, we want a change’, there’s no reason why people in west Africa can’t stand up. And it’s beginning to happen."
Amata reportedly reshot about 60% of the film, and added some more familiar names to its cast, like Rourke, Basinger and Heche, who weren’t in the original cut.
By the way, "Black November" is a reference to the month of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa’s execution in 1995. I’d also guess that the title change may have been to avoid any confusion with Jean-Jacques Annaud’s critically-acclaimed oil epic, also titled "Black Gold," which was in production around the same time as Amata’s film, and was released in the USA in 2013, although also under a different name as well – "Day of the Falcon."
Here’s an official synopsis of Amata’s "Black November" – A volatile, oil-rich Nigerian community wages war against their corrupt government and a multi-national oil corporation to protect their land from being destroyed by excessive drilling and spills. To seek justice, a rebel organization kidnaps an American oil executive and demands that his corporation end the destruction and pollution. The film, inspired by true events tells the story of how a community rises up and takes drastic measures to make sure their voices are heard.
Entertainment One has set a theatrical release date for January 9, 2015 – a week from today. Check your local listings next week.
eOne has a new release trailer for the film, which is embedded below: