Adding to our last post on the cross-continental co-production that is the film adaptation of Half Of A Yellow Sun, I thought this revelation from a Variety profile of the film this morning was something to share: 80% of the film’s production budget came from Nigerian investors.
With a budget of around $8 million, that comes to $6.4 milion.
But the point is that the bulk of the film’s budget came from Nigeria, which is noteworthy and a very good thing.
While the infrastructure may not yet be there to handle a full-scale Hollywood-style production, the money most certainly is. It’s easy to look at Nollywood cinema and its lo-budget/no-budget aesthetics, and immediately dismiss Nigerian film industry product as a contender on the international marketplace (even though it is in the top 3 in the world in terms of output); but that’s changing as Nigerian filmmakers in Nigeria and outside of the country, continue to push for films that can compete globally, and as international productions like Half Of A Yelow Sun (Nigeria/UK co-production, with actors from 3 continents in starring roles), are made in Nigeria, hiring mostly Nigerian crew (about 60% in this case), who get the experience of working on a full-scale, high-budget feature film production – experience that should have some impact on future productions, and that might make the country more attractive to international productions, for better or worse, given that most potential non-Nigerian filmmakers and investors are intimidated by the prospects of shooting a film in Nigeria.
The government can also help by doing what many other countries around the world do to attract international film production – introducing incentives and rebates.
But black filmmakers here in the USA really should consider looking at Nigeria as a potential source of funding. Thomas Ikimi got the money he needed to shoot his thriller Legacy (which starred Idris Elba) almost entirely from Nigerian investors.
The fact that Half Of A Yellow Sun’s budget was amost entirely Nigerian money speaks to what I believe this blog has championed for a long time – and that is the idea that together, as black people, we have the resources and ability to finance the development of our own projects much more often than we do currentl, outside of the traditional Hollywood system.
One thing I should point out that the Variety piece gets wrong is the title which reads: ‘Yellow Sun’ rises in East Africa – Hollywood finds funding, crew for Nigerian tale.
The problem is that Nigeria is in West Africa not East Africa.