SXSW 2011 Film Reviews
D: Anne Buford
You don't have to love basketball to appreciate this remarkable story of four towering West African boys with big hearts and big dreams of joining the NBA. At the SEEDS Academy (Sports for Education and Economic Development) in Thies, Senegal, the four teens – Assane, Aziz, Byago, and Dethie – each show extraordinary promise for their academic and athletic abilities. Offered the rare opportunity to attend prestigious American prep schools on basketball scholarships, the teens leave their close-knit families and set off on separate journeys to the U.S. Buford carefully documents the shock of American culture as the boys try to adapt to a new world while still adhering to their Muslim values. Elevate is a rich, heartwarming story that tracks the teens' progress in the classroom and on the court as they graduate and head to U.S. colleges – to play basketball and, perhaps, to become an NBA player.