Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Speakers Bank – Alexander Ore

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
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.

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