EXCLUSIVE: Disney Original Documentary today unveiled its next project, a feature documentary about Anthony Madu, a Nigerian boy who became a viral sensation after a video showed him dancing ballet barefoot on a rainy street outside of Lagos.
Oscar nominee Matt Ogens and Kachi Benson will direct. Madou, which will follow the remarkable course of events that began in 2020 when ballet teacher Anthony posted 44 seconds of him performing graceful pirouettes and jumps in this unexpected setting. Madu was then only 11 years old. The short video won hearts all over the world and led to Madu being awarded a scholarship to the 100 year old Elmhurst Ballet School in the UK.
The announcement of the document was made as young Madu prepares to appear this weekend at Disney’s massive D23 show in Anaheim, California, where fans will see the first footage from the film. The company says Madouproduced by Hunting Lane Films, will be screened at the festival before a limited theatrical release.
“Raised in an isolated community outside of Lagos and with little or no formal education, viewers will be able to take a close look at Anthony’s path after he received a scholarship to Elmhurst Ballet School, one of the most prestigious ballet schools in the United Kingdom.” This is stated in the Disney Original Documentary. “Anthony comes from a community with disabilities, which makes this [a] the chance of a lifetime to fulfill their dream… By immersing viewers in the culture of Lagos and its breathtaking surroundings, Ogens and Benson use their unique perspectives to bring the film to life in the true spirit of Nigeria and its people. With intimate truth and stunning visuals, the film will immerse viewers in the characters’ worlds and explore their journeys in a very inspiring way.”
Marjon Djawady, vice president of Disney Original Documentary, said in a statement, “Anthony’s journey has been wonderful, full of courage, growth and recognition. 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.”
Earlier this year, Ogens was nominated for an Academy Award for his Netflix short documentary. Sound, who followed a handful of Maryland School for the Deaf high school students. His credits include ESPN 30 to 30: From Harlem with Loveand an Emmy-nominated documentary series. Why do we fight. Benson – award-winning director Daughters of Chibokdocumentary about 276 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists. Madou marks the first collaboration between Benson and Ogens.
“Our shared journey is one of curiosity and understanding of different cultures through our connection to each other,” Ogens and Benson said in a statement. “Ultimately, this is a journey of discovery, growth, belonging and acceptance, a topic that we both personally relate to. Making his voice heard is our primary goal and we believe that Anthony’s extraordinary story will be the most gripping, emotional and gripping film that any of us have ever told.”
Madou Directed by Ogens and Benson and produced by Jamie Patricoff, Cathy McNeil and Rachel Haliledge of Hunting Lane Films. Marjohn Djawady is curating the Disney Original Documentary project.
Madou is part of a growing list of Disney original documentary films. He was acclaimed by critics Mia premieres on Disney+ next Friday, and Mickey: A Little Mouse Story will air on Disney+ this fall. If these walls could sing, Disney’s original documentary on the Abbey Road Recording Studios by Mary McCartney (daughter of Paul McCartney), has just been screened at Telluride. An untitled Jim Henson film is also in development, as well as Goodbye Yellowbrick Road: Elton John’s last performances and the years that made him a legenddirected by R.J. Cutler and David Furnish, husband of Elton John.
Madou it seems to be a project not to be missed given the reputation of the filmmakers and their theme. Anthony Mmesoma Madu is not only a gifted ballet dancer, but also a charmer with captivating enthusiasm and modesty.
“Ballet is my life and I want to practice everywhere,” Madou told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2020. “When I dance, I feel like I’m on top of the world.”