Apr 14, 2023
Like Nathaniel Clifton himself, the biopic 'Sweetwater' traveled its own tortuous, bumpy path from inspiration and creative vision to finished product.
BURBANK, Calif. — It’s the story of the human spirit, of perseverance, of endlessly saying “yes” when so many said “no.” It demanded tenacity, required resiliency, imposed humility and, in the end, rewarded integrity. One man’s journey, yes, but one that needed boosts and support and love from so many along the way.
The saga of Nat (Sweetwater) Clifton, one of the NBA’s Black pioneers who helped change the face and the style of pro basketball nearly three-quarters of a century ago? Well, yeah, that too.
But it’s also the backstory of “Sweetwater,” the newly released motion picture about Clifton’s life that traveled its own tortuous, bumpy path from inspiration and creative vision to completed production.
“I always knew this story would be told,” Martin Guigui, the director, writer and composer of the film, told NBA.com. “I wasn’t sure I would be chosen, but I felt it was my calling. I had to somehow tell this story to the world.”
Guigui, a native of Argentina, had grown up in Manhattan in the 1960s. His father Efrain, the conductor of the New York Philharmonic and later the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, took him to see the Harlem Globetrotters play at Madison Square Garden. Later, it was to watch the New York Knicks of Walt Frazier, Willis Reed and Earl Monroe.