Photos Courtesy of Variance Films/Sharp 7
In late October, we told you about ELEVATE, an inspirational film following the struggle—and ultimately success—of a handful of talented basketball players from Senegal, dreaming of one day playing the sport in the United States in order to get a proper education. Today, you can pick up a copy for yourself. If you consider yourself a basketball lover, and you’ve yet to watch this documentary, consider yourself slacking. It’s an emotional roller coaster highlighted by some truly amazing raw basketball highlights. You’ll laugh, cry and emit a few “oohs” and “aahs” before this thing ends. Think making it to a D-I college basketball program is tough? Try doing it without speaking the language, being thrust into a new style of play and having the pressure of your entire family (and country) on your back. At age 17.
Two of the films’ most prominent characters are currently playing college basketball: Assane Sene is a senior center at UVA, and Aziz N’Diaye is a junior center at the University of Washington. Plus, a handful of other players who were enrolled at the SEEDS Academy during the making of the documentary are now in the States hooping, including Alabama’s Moussa Gueye, Cincinnati’s Cheikh Mbodji, Louisville’s Gorgui Dieng, Oregon State’s Daniel Gomis and Syracuse’s Baye Moussa Keita. One thing’s for sure—they won’t be the last SEEDS alums to make it to America.
To see more clips, and to learn more about ELEVATE, visit the film’s official website. And to purchase your copy of the film, you can find it via iTunes, Netflix, Amazon, Amazon Instant or Barnes and Noble.