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Ballin Abroad directed by Sonny Weems and Tyawanna Smith
Ballin Abroad directed by Sonny Weems and Tyawanna Smith

Ballin Abroad, a documentary that follows the journeys of five American basketball players playing in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and Euro-Leagues, is set for a Special Community Screening at the North Carolina Black Film Festival.

The film features Sonny Weems, Darius Adams, Aerial Powers, Aaron Jackson, and Marshon Brooks. It chronicles their childhoods, rises through high school, collegiate sports careers, experiences as professional athletes abroad, and playing during covid. This documentary brings together these athletes and their respective micro-markets of influence worldwide.

The film was co-written and directed by Weems and Tyawanna Smith, who also served as executive producers. Kristine McPhearson also co-wrote the film.

The documentary showcases the impressive careers of Sonny Weems and Marshon Brooks, who both won the Chinese Basketball Championships in 2019, 2020, and 2021. Sonny was also nominated to Euro League All-Decade top players in international basketball from 2010-2019 and was crowned MVP of the Chinese Basketball League in 2020. His company, SonnyDayz Media, is a player-led platform connecting American athletes abroad, brands, and global sports fans through storytelling. Smith is an international athlete, business and financial manager, award-winning sports consultant, and best-selling author of “Surviving the Lights.” She is a former professional athlete (Holland, Spain) and an Ole Miss Top 40 Under 40 Alumni and West Memphis Sports Hall of Fame Inductee.

According to Smith, “Ballin Abroad is more than just a basketball documentary; it’s a story about resilience, sacrifice, and chasing your dreams no matter where they take you.”

Award-winning film and TV producer John Wayne S III and Londyn Town Pictures serve as producers. Wayne, roots are in the music business as a former record label president and director of international A&R. He is also an award-winning screenwriter and founder of the Celebrate People of Color Foundation. Alessio Avezzano was the cinematographer, Juan Ortiz served as editor, and Cloud Wang was the sound recordist.

Ballin Abroad won the Best Documentary Award earlier this year at the Bhuton-based DRUK International Film Festival.

The 1 hour and 20-minute Ballin Abroad will screen on Friday, May 19th at 6:30 PM at Boseman’s Shoes- a store that gained notoriety being one of the first to sell Jordan’s and that was hand-delivered to the store by Michael Jordan himself – 3901 Wrightsville Ave, #110, Wilmington, NC. Sonny Weems, Tywaanna Smith, and Kristine McPhearson will attend the screening.

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