Prolific moviemaker, actress and serial entrepreneur, Dayo Amusa has declared that despite acting in many movies and shooting over 12, she is yet to break even as far as Nollywood is concerned! In a chat, chubby Dayo Amusa whose latest movie offering, Omoniyun premiered Friday, November 29, painted a sad picture of the challenges independent movie makers face in Nigeria.
Lamenting, Dayo began: “I do a lot of things that generate money for me. I have always done business even before I came into Nollywood and I am still in business. I came into Nollywood as an actress before becoming a movie producer and to date, I have shot 12 movies and still counting. Truth be told, I have not made money from Nollywood yet. After 12 movies I have not made the kind of money that I should make but I know I will make it. You see, there is a difference between making a huge profit and then, just getting your money back on your investment. I haven’t broken even!”
Dayo Amusa remains one of the few actresses that has seamlessly blended the world of moviemaking and acting. What are her challenges as a moviemaker?
Creases pop up on her forehead as she responds: “I love doing good movies and putting up good content. I think my major challenge now is that my movies are not showing in all cinemas in the country like I hoped and it saddens me. Their excuse is that my movies are indigenous and the titles are local but I am like ‘we get to watch foreign movies indigenous to different parts of the world yet subtitled and these movies are been shown in our cinemas so I ask the question ‘why can’t we encourage our local content?’ I want to believe that even if a movie is 100 per cent indigenous, that does not stop it from showing in cinemas as long as the movie is well subtitled.
“It has greatly affected me as an independent film maker, I do most of my productions from my purse. It is not like I get grants and it really eats moviemakers up when we don’t get the opportunity to showcase what we have.
“Even if they feel we are not getting it right, there is a way they can inform us that this is what you need to achieve this and that. But they just label it local content, indigenous this and indigenous that, giving what we do all sorts of names but the fact is, when you preview a job and story wise you have it, picture wise you have it, quality wise and artistic whatever you have it, then why the barrier? Why can’t such a movie be seen in all cinemas across Nigeria.
“But they are giving excuses that when cinema going audiences hear the title, they will not like it. Who says so? Yes, a title could have a very positive impact on a production but a title is a title, be it local or English or what have you. An indigenous title cannot stop a good film from flying at the box office,” she adds with emphasis.
On Friday, November 29, her latest movie offering, Omoniyun premiered. What has she done to make sure she avoids these challenge with Omoniyun?
Her response: “If they refuse to have the movie in all cinemas so that people can watch it, they cannot stop me from taking it out for people to see. So, the number one thing I have done is that we will be talking the movies to higher institutions and secondary school among others because the message the movie is transmitting is far more important than whatever any cinema thinks or defines. We are taking the movie outside the box.
“Omoniyun is refreshing. Omoniyun is the story of a 13 year old girl being molested by a prince. It searchlights the ills of child sexual abuse which is a symptom of parental negligence. It talks about STDs and child marriage among others. The story is woven around the need to protect our children especially in today’s fast-moving world.”
What sets Omoniyun apart from other works coming from her? A smile creases her visage as she responds: “You know, the popular saying has it that you are as good as your last job. So for Omoniyun, the movie itself is unique. The uniqueness starts from the title because people will want to know what Omoniyun means. And then the concept of the movie dates back to the late 70s and early 80s. It is an old school vintage kind of movie from the set to props, cast and costumes. Everything about it is unique and that sets it apart.”
Genevieve Nnaji and the Oscars
Still talking movies, recently, Nollywood got a big one when Genevieve Nnaji’s film, Lion Heart made the Oscars. However, it was later disqualified. What is her take on the disqualification?
“Well, the only thing I have to say is that I give it to Genevieve Nnaji and it is not because the movie was associated with Netflix or whether it was disqualified at the Oscars but the fact that I saw the movie and I was like ‘this is a beautiful job.’
“For me, making a movie is not about packing all the awards. Just do your best, deliver as much good quality as you can and understand what you are doing. That Genevieve made an attempt alone is a big plus for Nigeria and every film maker in Nigeria.”