From the first-ever NBA game held on African soil to the streets of Zimbabwe, this film explores the dreams of young players and a nonprofit that uses basketball as an incredible force of good. Get on the court to witness the game’s impact on society and the development of the sport in Africa.
About The Project
This story has always been meant to be told. In 2013, after an incredibly powerful three months volunteering with basketball nonprofit Hoops 4 Hope in Zimbabwe, I boarded my South African Airways flight home. On a chance encounter, I was seated next to Dan Hedges, a documentary filmmaker whom I had never met that also happened to call North Carolina home. After the 16-hour flight, Dan and I made a vow that we would one day return to Africa to bring my stories to life for viewers everywhere, creating a platform to spotlight the influential work that organizations like Hoops 4 Hope provides for so many children every day. Two years later, we journeyed back together to where the idea for this film was born.
HOOPS AFRICA: UBUNTU MATTERS is a documentary spotlighting basketball’s impact on society and the development of the sport on the African continent. The film starts off in Harare, Zimbabwe, focusing on the journey of 16-year-old basketball player, Watida, who was raised participating in Hoops 4 Hope, a nonprofit organization that uses basketball to teach life skills to children growing up in the city’s high-density neighborhoods. After being named a Basketball Without Borders participant, Watida then travels to Johannesburg, South Africa, to Basketball Without Borders, a clinic for the most talented basketball players in Africa. The film then covers the action surrounding the NBA’s Africa Game, which is the first time the NBA played a game on African soil. This storyline also examines how basketball has the power to transcend continents through the story of the Boston Celtics, who rallied around the African philosophy of Ubuntu to overcome adversity on their way to winning the 2008 NBA championship. HOOPS AFRICA explores the dreams of young Zimbabwean youth and how basketball can be an incredible force of good. Through interviews with young Zimbabweans, prominent NBA players and legendary coaches, HOOPS AFRICA demonstrates that the game of basketball can literally change lives across the world
About This Team
Taylor Sharp, Producer
Taylor resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he studied the Philosophy and Business of Sport as a Morehead-Cain Scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill and is the Producer ofHoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters. He has a wide variety of experience in the nonprofit, entrepreneurial, and sport industries. His endeavors often focus on how sport both affects and reflects society, and many of his projects originate at the intersection of philanthropy and sport. He has volunteered with Hoops 4 Hope in Zimbabwe, worked with some of the world’s most recognizable athletes at Tandem Sports + Entertainment, and spent time at the NBA League Offices working for the rapidly growing D-League. Taylor’s vision for this film stemmed from the relationships and experiences he has amassed over the years throughout the basketball world.
Dan Hedges, Director
Dan is a director, camera operator and producer with experience working on commercials, documentaries and narratives for the last 9 years. He has worked on documentary series’ for the Discovery Channel, PBS, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, The United Way,, A&E and many other brands and networks. He directed his first feature length documentary, “Street Soccer: New York”, and released it on Hulu and Amazon in late 2014 after screening at ArtsFest Film Festival and Bootleg Film Festival. Currently, he is working as Camera Operator on an ongoing documentary series for The United Way entitled “The Hero Effect”. Dan resides in Asheville, North Carolina.