Yoruba Ace Actress and film writer, Dayo Amusa has revealed her intention to broadcast her HIV status if she found out that she is positive of the Spiral blood transmission disease.
The Nollywood star who is set to release a new movie, titled Omoniyun in the cinemas on November 29, made this known in an interview with JOE AGBRO JR of The Nation Newspaper, where she shed more light about why she is telling a story about female sexual harassment, sharing her medical status and her entrepreneurial skills.
Below are excerpt from the interview
So, what motivated your movie, Omoniyun?
To start with, I’m this person that draw inspiration from things that happen around me, things I hear, things I read, things I get to see. So, I didn’t write the script. I didn’t write the story. It was written by Dayo Fawore but when I got the synopsis of the story and I read through it, I said ‘wow’, this looks good. And I’m like, can you send me the whole script, which he did. I read through. I did one or two corrections and then he had to go and make another draft. But before then, I’ve had the opportunity to experience a particular situation way back in Sagamu (Ogun State) whereby this 11-year-old girl actually fell into child molestation. So, when this story came in, I like treating stories that deal with social issues. I think I have strength in it. It’s just something that I like doing. These issues of child molestation, child abuse, girl-child marriage and all that is rampant in our society. We don’t get to address them, not because we don’t know they are existing but probably because they’re not being voiced out like it should. I’m like, this is another platform for me to get to the audience, try to educate people, the kids and the older ones.
What was the budget?
Truthfully, because I am still spending, I wouldn’t say this is the total cost of production. The movie is just going to the cinemas but I had a challenge while shooting the movie. We shot the movie at first in Abeokuta and then unfortunately for me, I lost like 65 per cent content of the movie. We actually lost all. So, we were trying to retrieve it, fortunately we were only able to retrieve 35 per cent of the movie and then I got frustrated. So, I had to keep it aside for a while, thinking through what I needed to do because 60 per cent is more like the entire movie is gone. So, do I want to forego this project or do I want to go ahead? So, I kept it for a while and then I said I have a message I want to pass. I have this positive view of what I have inside of me that I want to put out here. I said, ‘Dayo, you have to do this.’ I had to call everybody back and say ‘this is the situation of things. We have to re-shoot this movie.’ So, we changed location and we took the job to Ijebu Ode, called all my cast and crew. To be fair, they were wonderful because everybody came back on board. They understood the situation and they gave in their best just like they did at the very first time.
What role did you play?
I played the role of Omoniyun. She’s a nurse, she’s a lover of kids and she’s someone everyone loves in the community. That’s my character.
In English, it (Omoniyun) means children are as precious as coral beads.
Usually, advocacy films don’t make commercial success. What are your expectations at the cinemas?
Well, as filmmakers, we all have different reasons why we make movies. And of course, nobody wants to do movies without getting back their money, without getting revenue. But there are some things that you do that go beyond the fact that I want to make this money in cinemas. Nobody says the money has to come from cinemas. And nobody says the money has to come from DVD. Or it has to come from online platform.
Now, the movie has to do with advocacy about child marriage, child molestation, parental negligence. I have NGOs that have supported one way or the other. The Lagos State government actually are in support as well; both the ministry of women affairs and the ministry of youths and social development and all that. We went on courtesy visitation, presenting to them, this is this movie. And they saw clips of the movie. They were proud and they gave their 100 per cent support. So, things like these are enough for me. Of course, I know I’m going to make my own money but it’s not about me saying all the money has to come from the cinema or it from this platform or that platform.
The movie also grazed on HIV, What was the reason for doing that?
Well, it wasn’t even attached to the movie. The result I posted was just a random thing. I just felt like the issue of HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases is everywhere, whether we want to admit it or not. As individuals, di thing wey cloth dey cover, no bi small thing. And I just feel like, I’ve done mine, I’m negative. You don’t have to be scared to do it. It is better for you to even have it done, know your status. But it is better for you to know your medical status in general so as to be able to do the needful.
Would you have shared your result if it was positive?
I would. Maybe, not exactly at that particular moment. But I would because, for me, I feel being HIV positive is not like the end of the world and it doesn’t stop you from living your life. You don’t have to die before death. You get informed, you get educated about your status so that every other person that is living around you will live healthy. So, it was just a way of (saying), ‘thank God that I am negative. Now that I am negative, biko, make una go do una own.’ That was just it.
Dayo added that location setting for the film is Abeokuta and Ijebu Ode, where she regarded as places that get the set and houses that fall into the 1970s used in the movie.
What are your words of Advice for Dayo Amusa?