The SEEDS Academy in Dakar, Senegal, sits on a small plot of land leased from the government. There, the best young basketball players from across West Africa gather to take part in a strenuous program of academics and athletic training. For those who stand out, the potential reward is huge: full scholarships to the top prep schools in the United States, where the right combination of skill and dedication will earn them a great education, pave the way to college, and open the door to basketball at the NCAA level… and maybe even a shot at the NBA.
Elevate follows four young men who make the cut, receive scholarships, and head off to the USA. Filmed over four years and across two continents, Elevate documents the daunting challenges they face, from the alienation that comes with being a seven foot tall Muslim at a Christian prep school (in an American culture rife with African stereotypes) to mastering English, adapting to aggressive American-style basketball… and navigating the vagaries of high school, girls, and drivers ed. A heartwarming documentary that inspires without preaching, Elevate challenges the audience’s conception of Africa, America, and athletes–while putting a smile on their face at the same time. (Elevate website)
SXSW Film Festival – World Premiere
BAM CinemaFest – Official Selection
Los Angeles Film Festival – Official Selection
Heartland Film Festival – Official Selection