Ballet dancer

Disney Original Documentary Announces New Feature Film Project About Nigerian Ballet Dancer Anthony Madu

BURBANK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Following a successful Telluride Film Festival premiere of the upcoming film “If These Walls Could Sing,” Disney Original Documentary today announced its upcoming feature film project, MADU. The announcement comes ahead of an appearance by Anthony Madu this weekend at D23, where a first look at the documentary will be shared exclusively with D23 fans. From Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matt Ogens (“Audible”) and award-winning filmmaker Kachi Benson (“Chibok Girls”), the film will spotlight Nigerian ballet dancer Anthony Madu. Jamie Patricof, Katie McNeill and Rachel Halilej will produce under the Hunting Lane Films banner. The next documentary project is the story of Anthony Madu’s journey as he leaves his community on the outskirts of Lagos to pursue a ballet career at a new academy in a new country on the other side of the world. The film will be the subject of a festival before a limited theatrical release.

MADU will capture Anthony’s story after it was discovered through a 44-second viral video that was posted online in 2020 and garnered over 16 million views. Growing up in an isolated community outside of Lagos and with no formal training, the public will be able to observe Anthony’s journey up close after receiving a scholarship to Elmhurst Ballet School, one of the most prestigious ballet schools from the United Kingdom. Anthony comes from a community with limited opportunities, which makes this chance to pursue his one-of-a-kind dream. By immersing audiences in the culture and fascinating surroundings of Lagos, Ogens and Benson use their unique perspectives to bring the film to life in the true spirit of Nigeria and its people. Featuring intimate truth and stunning visuals, the film will immerse audiences in the world of the characters and examine their journeys in deeply inspiring ways.

“Anthony’s journey is beautiful, full of courage, growth and acceptance,” said Marjon Javadi, vice president of Disney Original Documentary. 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.

Anthony’s journey will be a gripping story of change, growth, acceptance and belonging. In telling his story, Anthony’s desire is to further introduce and expose Nigeria to ballet and hopefully inspire other young men and women in Nigeria to pursue ballet. Forming a rich tapestry told on several continents, MADU will introduce the world to a boy chasing an inspirational dream that will resonate with audiences everywhere.

“Our journey together is about curiosity and creating an understanding of different cultures through our connection with each other,” said directors Matt Ogens and Kachi Benson. “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’ve ever told.

Matt Ogens is an Oscar-nominated director known for capturing authentic human stories through evocative visual and narrative aesthetics. Matt’s Original ‘Audible’ From Netflix Has Been Nominated For An Oscar® last year, an immersive coming-of-age documentary told from the perspective of deaf high school students and delivered in sign language. His first documentary, “Confessions of a Superhero,” won critical acclaim and a devoted audience. He went on to win a Primetime Emmy® Award for ESPN’s “30 for 30: From Harlem with Love.” Additional credits include the two-time Emmy-nominated documentary series ‘Why We Fight’ which he created, as well as the Emmy-nominated augmented reality film ‘LA Louvre’ and the feature-length documentary ‘Home + Away,” following high school athletes. living on the US-Mexico border and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Matt received four additional Emmy nominations for his work on the show. Ogens is represented by UTA and Range Media Partners.

Kachi Benson is an award-winning filmmaker whose work primarily focuses on social impact storytelling. He became the first Nigerian to use virtual reality for a narrative film when he released ‘In Bakassi’ in 2017, a virtual experience of life in one of the largest IDP camps in northeastern Nigeria. . “In Bakassi” premiered at the Cairo Film Festival and later screened at HotDocs and the Berlin Film Festival. In 2019, Kachi’s “Daughters of Chibok” made history by winning the Venice Lion for Best Immersive Story at the Venice Film Festival, making him the first African to win the award.

Hunting Lane produces auteur narrative feature films, television, documentaries and digital content. On the documentary side, Hunting Lane produced four entries in ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, winning both a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. Other documentary projects include “Us Kids,” which premiered at Sundance with director Kim Snyder; “Levitated Mass,” by filmmaker Doug Pray; “Confessions of a Superhero,” by director Matt Ogens; and HBO’s “The Off Season: Kevin Durant.” Hunting Lanes scripted projects include “I Know This Much is True, Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond The Pines” by Derek Cianfrance, “Captain Fantastic” by Matt Ross, “The Accountant” by Gavin O’Connor and Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden. “Half Nelson.”

MADU is directed by Matt Ogens and Kachi Benson and produced by Hunting Lane Films’ Jamie Patricof, Katie McNeill and Rachel Halilej. Marjon Javadi will oversee the Disney Original documentary.

Disney Original Documentary previously announced upcoming projects ‘Goodbye Yellowbrick Road: The Final Elton John Performances and The Years That Made His Legend’, ‘If These Walls Could Sing’, the untitled Jim Henson movie and the shortlisted documentary short. at the Oscars » Sophie and the baron. The critically acclaimed “Mija” will premiere on Disney+ on September 16, 2022. “Mickey: Story of a Mouse” will premiere on Disney+ later this fall.

About the Disney Original Documentary

Disney Original Documentary is committed to pushing the boundaries of non-fiction storytelling by embracing new voices, approaches and creative styles in filmmaking. Our goal is to create global connections by sharing authentic stories that resonate with a wide audience. By championing stories from diverse viewpoints, we aim to extend Disney’s storytelling legacy and give audiences new ways to see themselves and the world we live in onscreen. Disney Original Documentary programs exclusively for Disney+.

About Hunting Lane Films

Hunting Lane’s Jamie Patricof and Katie McNeill produce auteur narrative feature films, television, documentaries and digital content. Films include THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE with Jessica Chastain, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC with Viggo Mortensen, THE COMPTABLE with Ben Affleck, Tim Burton’s BIG EYES with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES with Derek Cianfrance with Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes, Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE with Gosling and Michelle Williams, and HALF NELSON which also stars Gosling. Recent television productions include THE BOARDROOM with Kevin Durant and 35 Ventures for ESPN+, Q BALL directed by Michael Tolajian for Fox Sports and I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE by Derek Cianfrance with Mark Ruffalo for HBO. On the documentary side, Hunting Lane produced four entries in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, winning both a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award. Other documentary projects include filmmaker Doug Pray’s LEVITATED MASS, director Matt Ogens’ CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO, HBO’S THE OFF SEASON: KEVIN DURANT, Netflix’s THE AFTER PARTY, Nicole Riegel HOLLER’s directorial debut, as well as US KIDS, which premiered at Sundance last year.

About Elmhurst Ballet School

Elmhurst Ballet School celebrates its 100th anniversary during the UK academic year from September 2022 to July 2023. The school opened in Camberley, Surrey, UK in 1923 and moved to Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK in 2004. The school is a world-renowned Center of Excellence in association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and prepares talented young dancers aged 11-19 to become the thinking dance professionals of the future. The school nurtures individuality through a holistic approach to dance training, academics, and health and wellness and guides students to become independent, collaborative and versatile performers ready to take the plunge. on the world stage. Dance education at Elmhurst Ballet School is of the highest quality and is delivered by current and former dance professionals. Training is enhanced by the invaluable association with Birmingham Royal Ballet, an ongoing partnership with Studio Wayne McGregor, and numerous guest choreographers and dance artists working in collaboration with students throughout the school year. Elite but not elitist, Elmhurst believes that talent has no class and that its exceptional training opportunities should be accessible to young dancers, regardless of their financial, social or cultural background. Although Elmhurst is an independent school, around 80% of students usually receive UK government support or additional funding to train at the school.