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No Academy Award nomination was more deserved this year than Chiwetel Ejiofor’s best actor nod for “12 Years a Slave.” His impassioned turn as the free-born slave Solomon Northrup was a stunning highlight of an emotional powerhouse of a film. If “12 Years” brought the actor worldwide fame, however, it was not Ejiofor’s first great performance.

He has been reliably strong for years in such films as “Dirty Pretty Things” and “Kinky Boots.” And at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Ejiofor drew acclaim for both “12 Years” and another drama having its Buffalo premiere this weekend, “Half a Yellow Sun.”

Co-starring Thandie Newton (“Beloved,” “Mission: Impossible II”) and based on the award-winning novel by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the film tells the story of twins Olanna (Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose) who return home to 1960s Nigeria as civil war rages. Ejiofor plays Olanna’s lover, a professor caught up in the revolution.

The film screens at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Screening Room Cinema Cafe (3131 Sheridan Drive, Amherst).

“Band of Sisters,” a documentary about modern-day nuns, is also having its Buffalo premiere this weekend in the Screening Room. Debuting at 4 p.m. Sunday, the film also screens at 7 p.m. June 12. Note that director Mary Fishman will introduce the film at its Sunday screening.

Fishman’s unique film documents Catholic sisters in the United States who are committed to social justice. For more information, visit www.bandofsistersmovie.com.

– Christopher Schobert