Alexander Ore is a Filmmaker and Executive Producer of the first ever Afrobeats movie ‘The Dance Movie Project’ (TDMP). Alexander talks about his inspiration behind the movie and the need to establish the creative arts in Nigeria.
What was the inspiration behind the movie?
Great question. Several variables inspired the production of The Dance Movie Project (TDMP). I have a background in dance so I have always wanted to produce or be a part of a dance film. I love everything dance. Afrobeats is arguably our biggest export right now in the entertainment sector and you can’t have the music without the dance. Afrobeats dance style is quite fun and entertaining so TDMP is my platform to share our dance talent with the world.
I also wanted to showcase the richness of Nigeria’s culture especially to the folks in the diaspora. Africa at large is hinged to several stigmas, ranging from digital internet scams, to corruption, poverty, lack of access to basic necessities like clean water, and HIV/AIDS so I decided to create a motion picture that celebrates more of the richness of Africa’s culture rather than to focus on its struggles. In so doing, individuals around the world can leverage TDMP to stimulate global dialogue around dance talents of Africans alike, particularly in ways that will exceed people’s preconceived notions about Africa.
In addition, I wanted to create a spellbinding story that will illustrate other topics that are rarely explored in films these days, i.e. diabetes and single parenting.
Why did you to choose to highlight diabetes?
I’m quite close to a few people with diabetes and I empathize with them on a daily basis. I decided to do some research about the ailment just for my personal edification until I uncovered how deadly it is hence why I decided to include it in TDMP’s story-line. Based on my findings, Diabetes kills more Africans than any other ailment in the continent. It’s quite disheartening and unfortunate. As an agent of transformation and hope, my goal is to make sure that all the films I produce have strong messages embedded in the story line. TDMP is designed to spark candid conversations about diabetes, and educate the public on the rising rates of the disease. There are over 70 million Africans living with diabetes undiagnosed. All I can do is use this medium to create awareness for the disease and hope people take it seriously.
Dance as a profession, along with other forms of creative arts, is generally frowned upon by Nigerians and other African elders, however it is slowly getting better recognition. What more do you think needs to be done to establish this form of profession in Nigeria?
Great observation. This has been an ongoing dialogue between the African youth and African elders for quite some time now. I understand our elder’s reasoning and why they frown on creative arts as a profession but I also understand the perspective of the youth due to the fact that I had to overcome this challenge myself. We need more of initiatives/projects like TDMP to prove to our elders that there are other lines of professions (besides being a doctor or a banker) that can earn one a good living. I am a big proponent of education because it prepares you for the future and allows you to maneuver easier within the society. That said, if you desire to become a professional dancer, my advice is that you nurture your art in every way you know plus back it up with education via formal training. Personally, I believe that you can make a business out of any type of talent. It’s all about thinking outside the box. Going to school and dabbling with like-minded people will stir your mind into developing a better business acumen and it will only help monetize your talent.
With all that said, ultimately the success of dance in Nigeria is also largely dependent on the country’s ability to develop it into a lucrative industry, one that will need to be popularized via film festivals, dance-inspired movies like TDMP, programming on broadcast channels, and cross pollination into other industries such as health and wellness.
What major difficulties did you face with this project and how did you overcome them?
The biggest difficulty lies in funding. Per Hollywood standards, making a film like TDMP will cost roughly $10 million if done in the United States. For instance, the classic dance film “You Got Served” cost $8 million to produce. Lexxistalking Entertainment self-funded the production of TDMP and that was quite difficult to do but we got it done.
What do you hope the Dance Project will achieve?
As the world’s first Afrobeats dance film, my hope is that TDMP will create more opportunities for dancers on the continent. I also hope that people in the diaspora will look at Africa with a different lens rather than through the social stigmas that we are hinged to. I also hope that TDMP will offer plenty of fodder for advocates of the diabetes prevention movement around the world.
In conclusion, I hope The Dance Movie Project inspires the youth all across the globe to not only go after, but to chase their dreams (whatever that is). If I can make mine happen, you can certainly do the same.
What’s next for yourself and the movie?
The movie is slated to be released in theaters across the continent in the Summer. I’m quite elated about that. As for me, I have 3 great scripts in the works. I hope the success of TDMP opens up doors for me so as to continue to create and tell these progressive and interesting African stories.
Watch the trailer HERE!
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