October 08, 2019
As Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons prepares for the start of his third NBA season, he continues to grow into his role as a star on and off the court.
Away from basketball, Simmons is already involved in show businesses, partnering with LeBron James to produce a comedy series based on Simmons' life. The Sixer delves further into the entertainment industry now, and in a more serious tone, as the executive producer for a documentary exploring the issue of racism in Simmons' native Australia.
"The Australian Dream," which premiered in August at the Melbourne International Film Festival, is about Australian Football League star Adam Goodes and his activism combating racism in the league, on the field, and growing up as an Australian born to an Aboriginal mother and a white father. It's directed by Brit Daniel Gordon with Madman Films and written Stan Grant.
Last week, it was announced that "The Australian Dream" will be screened during the Philadelphia Film Festival later this month, and Simmons is expected to attend.
The 23-year-old Simmons was playing high school basketball in Melbourne at the time Goodes took his stand against bigotry and faced accolades and backlash. Like Goodes, Simmons is also biracial – his father is African American and his mother is a white Australian.
"My dad is from America and I'm a mixed kid growing up in Australia, so I felt like I owe it to other kids who have been in my situation, who are mixed kids, who are not typical Australian kids that they see that side and have that support from other players, people like me. Role models. I feel like it's the right area for me to get in there," Simmons told The Age.
"It's a great documentary and it's going to open up a lot of doors, for not only multicultural kids but Indigenous kids and they've done a great job on it," Simmons added.
Six international sporting organizations, including the AFL, have endorsed the film. Before the film's official release, the league issued a formal apology for not intervening during the widespread booing that would often occur while Goodes was on the field, and for not calling the actions racist at the time.
The film will premiere in Philadelphia on Oct. 19 at the Philadelphia Film Center (formerly the Prince Theatre). Tickets to the 28th annual festival went on sale to the public on Monday.