Why I made my HIV status public – Dayo Amusa …The girl child is disadvantaged
Top Nollywood actress and singer, Dayo Amusa is rearing to hit the cinemas with her latest film “Omoniyun” from November 29, 2019. The film which stars Segun Arinze, Bimbo Thomas, Toyin Alausa, Seilat Adebowale, Muyiwa Ademola and a host of others focuses on the protection of the girl child. According to her, the movie will engender discourse on the plight of the girl child. In this interview she talks about the film and other things
What gave you the inspiration to make the movie “Omoniyun”?
I’m this one person that draws inspiration from things that happen around me, things I hear, things I read and things I get to see on daily basis. I did not write the script but when I got the story, I liked it so I did one or two corrections and it was perfect. The story is about child molestation, parental negligence and child marriage.
I played the role of a nurse known as Omoniyan, a lady loved by the kids, and the community. Before now, I had the opportunity to experience a particular situation in Sagamu, where an eleven years old child was molested, so, when I received the script, I found it interesting because it’s the kind of story I like to treat. I like stories that have to do with social issues. I kind of have the strength to explain and make people see what’s happening in our society.
This issue of girl child marriage, child abuse happens everywhere and everyday but we are not addressing the issues, not because we don’t know it exists but no one wants to be the voice and nobody wants to be too involved. This is a platform to advocate and to kick against child molestation as a film maker, it’s just my own little way to give back to the society. I have chosen to educate people on some social matters happening around us.
Why did you chose to cast Segun Arinze in the movie?
I needed someone that could help interpret the role perfectly, so I saw no other person as at that time than uncle Segun. I have had opportunity to see the way and manner he interpreted some certain roles, so I saw him as the right person to interpret the role. It was indeed a collective effort. Muyiwa Ademola is someone I have worked with too, he takes time to bring out the best from each character, he came up with fantastic ideas when I told him about the story. He takes time to address each character to know if you truly understands your role.
The story has a background of the 70s and 80s, how difficult was it to get costumes?
I like works that are challenging, I try to give in my best, the movie is a unique one and I believed it’s achievable, so making it real wasn’t really difficult. We had gotten things in place, the set, the costumes, the housing and everything, it was a beautiful one.
So, what were the challenges making this movie?
The challenge I had was while shooting the movie. We made the movie at first in Abeokuta and unfortunately we lost all the contents but we were only able to retrieve just 35% of the movie and lost 65% which is more like the entire movie. I had to keep the project aside for a while. But when I thought of the message I had to pass to people through that movie, I had to call my cast and crew again to reshoot the movie in Ijebu ode. Everyone understood the situation and gave me their best just as they did in the first shooting.
How do you intend to get back your money from the movie?
As a film maker, we all have different reasons we make movies. Of course, nobody wants to do a movie without getting back their money but like I said, there are some things you do that go beyond the intention to make money from cinema, DVD, or online. This movie has to do with advocacy, about child marriage, parental negligent, I have NGOs that have supported in one way or the other, the Lagos State government are in support as well as both the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Ministry of Youth and Social Development Affairs. They saw the movie and were all proud of it so they gave their 100% support, that’s enough for me. Although I’m still going to make my money from the movie but I don’t have to expect all the money from the cinema, DVD or online.
You had an update online sometime ago on your HIV status, does it relate to this movie in any way?
Well, the declaration of my HIV status wasn’t attached to this movie. What I posted was just a random thing. I just felt I should encourage people to go for their HIV test, to know their status, so they can know what next to do and go for a medical advice if necessary. It is better to know your status, so you can guide yourself and save others too. If mine was positive, I would have still posted it but might not be just at that particular moment. For me, being positive is not the end of the world and it doesn’t stop you from living a normal life. You don’t have to die before death comes.