MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +4

Sports documentary released by Variance Films and ESPN Films and directed by Anne Buford.

FILM SYNOPSIS: From a basketball academy in West Africa to the high-pressure world of American prep schools, Elevate documents the extraordinary personal journeys of four particularly tall West African Muslim teenagers with big hearts, open minds, and NBA dreams.

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. The film 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.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Although a bit too familiar, as I’ve seen tons of basketball films manned by downtrodden kids attempting to make their way up. Still, Elevate is engrossing and ultimately a satisfying family movie going adventure. It’s interesting that the film will be competing in movie theaters with The Mighty Macs, about a small college women’s basketball team, populated mainly by white women, learning many of the same lessons as the young men in Elevate.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Variance Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: One minor expletive.

Profanity: None

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time: 81 minutes
Intended Audience: Older kids and up.

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