Film series: Voices & Visions in Black Media: Centering New Directions in Nollywood

scene from the film HALF A YELLOW SUN
HALF OF A YELLOW SUN (2014, dir. Biyi Bandele)
Images of individuals are arranged in a patchwork to the form of the outline of a male figure set against a black background

Voices & Visions in Black Media is an ongoing series that surveys the diverse and global landscape of Black media practices and scholarship, engaging and critically exploring the world of blackness on screen and/or behind the camera in film, television, and digital media. 

This year’s screening program is curated by Rejoice Abutsa, a doctoral student in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, and is dedicated to new directions in Nollywood. The series will feature three films that reflect the diverse output of the Nigerian film industry and highlight the work of several of its key contributors.

Organized by Samantha N. Sheppard, Associate Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, the Voices & Visions in Black Media series is generously supported by the Department of Performing and Media Arts.

All screenings are free and open to the public and will take place at Cornell Cinema, Willard Straight Theatre. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2023 

5:30pm – The Mirror Boy 
Directed by Obi Emelonye, 2010
Featuring introduction by Rejoice Abutsa

After getting himself into trouble, a 12-year-old boy named Tijan moves with his mother from London back to her home country of Gambia. Once there, he encounters a mystical apparition in a nearby forest and embarks on a remarkable journey of self-discovery that reveals long-kept secrets about the father he has never met. 

Written and directed by Obi Emelonye, and starring Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme and Edward Kagutuzi, the film was nominated for three African Movie Academy Awards (AMAAs) and is celebrated for putting Nollywood cinema "on the map" through its record-breaking success in British cinemas.

8pm – Film to be announced
Stay tuned for additional details

Wednesday, October 4

7pm – Half of a Yellow Sun
Directed by Biyi Bandele, 2014
Featuring introduction by Rejoice Abutsa

Playwright Biyi Bandele’s 2014 film Half of a Yellow Sun is based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s evocative novel about Nigeria’s Biafran war. Set in the late 1960’s, the film centers on two glamorous sisters from a wealthy Nigerian family, Olana and Kainene (played by Thandie Newton and Anika Noni Rose), whose paths diverge upon their return home from schooling abroad in England and amidst the political turmoil of the Nigerian civil war. After a betrayal amongst the sisters, Olana shocks her family by marrying a “revolutionary” professor, and Kainene pursues a career as a businesswoman and surprises herself by falling in love with an English writer. 

Initially preoccupied by their own romantic dramas, the sisters soon become caught up in the events of the civil war, during which the Igbo people sought to establish Biafra as an independent republic, and which ended in shocking violence. This English-language romantic drama is a powerful tale of individual lives swept into the promise, disappointment, and trauma of civil war.

This film is also presented in collaboration with Institute for African Development at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies as part of the ongoing series African Languages, Literature, and Film.

Related films

scene from the film HALF OF A YELLOW SUN

Half of a Yellow Sun


A young boy in a lime green shirt rides his bike down a city street.

The Mirror Boy