Set in the rustic city of Ibadan, COUPLE OF DAYS is the story of three couples on a weekend getaway, and the intrigue, mayhem, and drama that unfolds as relationships and marital issues are unravelled…The movie ends with a quote by Ligon Duncan “People do not fall out of love, they fall out of forgiveness”.

Nollywood in Cinema deserves a pat on the back largely due to the success of films like “COUPLE OF DAYS”. Shot in Ibadan by industry rookies, COUPLE OF DAYS is one of Nigeria’s top 20 grossing movies – a laudable feat for the first-time duo of movie Director Tolu Awobiyi and Executive Producer Ayo Orunmuyi.

Ayo Orunmuyi is an electrical engineer cum venture capitalist with a vision to transform how things are done in day to day life by leveraging his vast professional experience in the manufacturing industry. He discusses his journey into Nollywood, shooting COUPLE OF DAYS in Ibadan, and what to expect in the future.

Please tell us about yourself

My official names are Ayotunde Kehinde Orunmuyi. I am an identical twin and a native of Ijebu-jesa (Osun state). I graduated from the department of Electrical Engineering, the University of Ilorin in 2003 and have worked with Procter & Gamble since 2004, just after completing my NYSC posting in Nassarawa State. I am a Venture Capitalist – I support other people’s great ideas.

I have been resident in Ibadan for about 12 years.

How did you get into venture capitalism?

Venture capitalism was born out of a desire to create something significant out of little successes. I want to make my expertise count for others around me and the larger society.
My first significant experience as a venture capitalist began with pro-bono consulting for a friend who was starting his private business. Some of his investors decided to pull out and when he turned to me for advice, I offered to buy out their stake. Since that time, I have actively taken advantage of other opportunities in real estate, NGO’s and recently, Nollywood. 

How did you get on board the COUPLE OF DAYS project?

The director and scriptwriter, Tolu Awobiyi is a good friend. Before venturing into full-time filmmaking he was a “banker”. I found his stage works and short videos rather intriguing and liked that he paid attention to “the details”. As usual, I began to offer pro bono advice. Amongst his several works, the script of COUPLE OF DAYS particularly caught my attention and I encouraged him to make it his directorial debut. We pooled our resources together, invested into owning production equipment, and the rest as they say, is history.

What was the idea behind using Ibadan as the movie’s location?

More than 90% of movies in the industry are shot in Lagos. As newcomers, it was important that we differentiated ourselves from the rest. Apart from carefully selecting our cast, we wanted our viewers to see something that was different yet fresh and fascinating. The recent changes and development in Ibadan presented the perfect opportunity to actualize this vision. Virtually everyone who saw the trailer could not believe that the movie was shot in Ibadan.

What were your goals going into filmmaking?

My professional background and experiences have exposed me to some of the best practices and approaches to executing projects and solving complex problems. My belief is that the principles that govern efficient and effective execution and problem-solving are universal. My goal was to demonstrate this in the COUPLE OF DAYS project. The movie project was executed according to the cost, quality and schedule target that we had set from the onset.

What did you learn during the course of production?

I now know that movie production is ‘hard work’. Our society tends to think that the movie industry is for “unserious” people. I can tell you that it is not. "COUPLE OF DAYS is also proof that the creative industry obeys the principles of project management.

"COUPLE OF DAYS" was nominated for best cinematography at the AMVCA; did you think at inception that it was going to be that successful?

Yes, we did. We knew how many views would make us ‘break-even’, and planned to exceed this from the onset. Our initial projection was ambitious but at the same time, quite logic based - we wanted 52,000 people to see the movie in Cinemas, which was statistically modest but would have made COUPLE OF DAYS the fifth highest grossing movie ever. At the same time, we were clear that we would not exceed our budgets. As time progressed, we adjusted our expectations to around 20,000 views as we saw that this was what our publicity budget could achieve. The movie grossed about 22, 000 views in cinemas – better than ‘break-even’ and double the prediction of the “experts”. The potential of Nollywood is simply put – gargantuan – if we are celebrating 22,000 views in a country of over 160 million people.

What does the future hold now?

The current economic realities would make any Venture Capitalist cautious. We have started working on the sequel to the movie (COUPLE OF DAYS later) and are looking for sponsors/investors who believe in the message of the movie and in the potentials of the Nollywood industry. Other projects in the pipeline include another movie to be shot in SW Nigeria sometime in July and an interesting documentary project.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to stay at home. I enjoy spending time with my wife, children, brothers and nephews. From time to time, I get invited to speak at youth/empowerment-themed events. I also enjoy listening to music and reading articles online. I am the Chairman of our residents’ association and actively mentor several younger people.

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