Ballet dancer

Disney is making a documentary about viral teenage Nigerian ballet dancer, Anthony Madu

Amid the global lockdown in 2020, a video of a young boy dancing ballet has gone viral on social media. People were more than impressed with his passion and skill, calling it impressive that he was preserving despite the conditions everyone was in.

Two years after the viral sensation, Original Disney Documentary unveiled his next project: a feature documentary on Anthony Madu, a young Nigerian child who shot to fame when a video of him dancing barefoot ballet on a street outside Lagos went viral.

Anthony Mmesoma Madu is more than a viral sensation – he’s also a gifted ballet dancer, evident by the things he’s accomplished. In July 2020, Anthony also won the grand prize at the South African International Ballet Competition in a virtual event. The prize included a scholarship to take dance lessons in the United States, accompanied by his dance teacher.

The announcement came just ahead of Disney’s annual D23 Expo, where fans saw the first images from the film. The company says it will hold a festival ahead of a limited theatrical release.

The documentary, which will be titled “Madu,” will be directed by Oscar-nominated Matt Ogens and award-winning Kachi Benson. It will follow his life and form the series of events that led to his going viral and after. How it all started in 2020 when Anthony’s ballet teacher shared a 44-second video of him performing exquisite leaps and pirouettes in an unexpected place for 44 seconds. He was only 11 at the time. Thanks to the video, he obtained a scholarship from the prestigious Elmhurst Ballet School.

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“Having grown up in an isolated community outside of Lagos and with almost no formal training, the public will see Anthony’s journey up close after receiving a scholarship to Elmhurst Ballet School, one of the world’s most successful ballet schools. most prestigious in the United Kingdom”, Disney Original Documentary said in a statement.

Marjon Javadi, vice president of Disney Original Documentary, said in a statement: “Anthony’s journey is beautiful, full of courage, growth and acceptance. We aim to share unique, diverse and global perspectives with an audience full of magic and heart. We are thrilled to partner with Matt, Kachi and Hunting Lane Films to share this touching story with the world.

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The work of Matt Ogens and Kachi Benson

Matt Ogens and Kachi Benson are both nominated and award-winning filmmakers who primarily work on documentaries. Matt Ogens was nominated for an Oscar this year for his short documentary ‘Audible’.

The documentary follows a high school football player at Maryland School for the Deaf who is shaken by the suicide of a friend. In it, he comes to terms with his family and relationships while anticipating his final homecoming game.

Kachi Benson is an award-winning Nigerian documentary filmmaker. He directed the “Daughters of Chibok”, a documentary about the 276 Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram terrorists in 2014. He is also a virtual reality content creator.

‘Madu’ will be the collaboration between Benson and Ogens.

Our journey together is about curiosity and creating an understanding of different cultures through our connection with each other,” Ogens and Benson said in a statement. “Ultimately, it’s a journey of discovery, growth, belonging and acceptance, a theme that we both relate to personally. Making your voice heard is our ultimate motivation, and we believe that the Anthony’s extraordinary story will make for the most gripping, moving and gripping film we have ever told.

Madu is directed by Ogens and Benson and produced by Hunting Lane Films’ Jamie Patricof, Katie McNeill and Rachel Halilej. Marjon Javadi oversees the Disney Original Documentary project.

Madu seems like a “can’t miss” project, given the filmmakers’ credentials and their subject matter.

“Ballet is my life and I want to practice everywhere” Madu said in a 2020 interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “When I dance, I feel like I’m on top of the world.