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Elevate (2011)

PG | | Documentary | March 2011 (USA)
2:20 | Trailer
From a basketball academy in Senegal, to the high-pressure world of American prep schools, the film documents the extraordinary personal journeys of four particularly tall West African Muslim teenage boys with NBA dreams.


Anne Buford
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Dethie Dethie ... Himself
Amadou Gallo Fall Amadou Gallo Fall ... Himself


From a basketball academy in Senegal, to the high-pressure world of American prep schools, the film documents the extraordinary personal journeys of four particularly tall West African Muslim teenage boys with NBA dreams.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

basketball | See All (1) »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for brief mild language


Official Sites:

Official site




English | French | Wolof

Release Date:

March 2011 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Dakar, Senegal See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,547, 23 October 2011

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

An Uplifting African Hoop Dreams
16 March 2011 | by JustCuriositySee all my reviews

Anne Huford's film Elevate had its world premiere at Austin's SXSW Film Festival where it was well-received. Elevate is the inspiring story of a group of young men who attended the SEEDS Academy in Senegal as step towards taking their basketball skills to the United States. This is the first step of a journey from their homeland to American prep schools to college basketball fueled by the dream of playing in the NBA. While most will probably not make it all the way to the NBA, their journeys will gain them a priceless education and skills that they can use to help their families and their country. Huford documents their struggles which include academics (as they learn English), religious (as these young Muslims adapt to the U.S. and attempt to observe Ramadam, pray and avoid pork), visa problems, injuries, learning to drive, and even simple stuff like fitting under desks that weren't designed for 7 ft. frames. Like so many before them, they are coming to the United States in an attempt to pursue the immigrant's American Dream.

The story is told in a personal and intimate manner that bespeaks Huford's personal connection to story. Her project was actually inspired by the similar journey several years before by her adopted nephew from Cameroon who faced many of the same struggles. These young men have taken an incredible journey and Huford has given us the chance to share that journey. In one sense, this film could be viewed in parallel with Steve James's classic Hoop Dreams which explores the journey of underprivileged American youths chasing an NBA dreams and faces struggles both similar and different as the young men in Elevate. Huford's film is beautifully done and enhanced by the use of African music. She has allowed the young men to tell their stories and given us the privilege of witnessing their story.

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