2019 Victory Scholar Cullen Donovan shares his delight with his role in new movie, ‘Sweetwater’!

April 20th, 2023 | NEWS

Sport Changes Life Class of 2019 Victory Scholar Cullen Donovan recently made his debut on the big screen in the new movie ‘Sweetwater’ (2023), and we couldn’t be more proud of him! Cullen, who grew up outside of Connecticut’s capital of Hartford in Wethersfield, has always been a driven individual with a passion for both athletics and academics.

During his collegiate years, Donovan attended Rivier University in Nashua, New Hampshire, where he excelled both on and off the field. As a student-athlete, he was a two-time captain and received several awards for his exceptional leadership skills, including the Unsung Hero, Jim Domracki, and GNAC All-Sportsmanship awards during his Junior and Senior seasons.

Cullen’s dedication to academics was equally impressive, and after completing his undergraduate degree, he made the decision to continue his education in Ireland as a Victory Scholar with the Sport Changes Life Foundation. Here, he studied for a Masters in Management Practice at Letterkenny Institute of Technology, further honing his skills and expertise in the field of business management, whilst playing basketball and working with young people in the communities of Letterkenny, Ireland.

Now, he is making waves in the entertainment industry with his supporting role in ‘Sweetwater’, a thrilling action movie that follows the story of a Hall of Famer, Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton, who makes history as the first African American to sign an NBA contract, forever changing how the game of basketball is played. Donovan plays a key supporting role in the film and has received high praise for his performance.

For Donovan, this exciting new chapter in his life is a testament to the hard work and dedication he has put into both his athletic and academic pursuits. It’s also a reminder that with the right mindset, anything is possible.

Speaking to Cullen, he explained how the opportunity presented itself;

‘’I have recently been seeking to pursue acting opportunities and in 2021, when I was back home in Connecticut, I saw a post on Instagram from a company called Game Changing Films. They were seeking basketball players for another movie called Chang Can Dunk. I went to a trial and got selected to be in the movie. 

We had several rehearsals and on day of filming I got to be perform a couple basketball scenes that ended up being in the movie. A couple months later they posted about another basketball movie out in LA, called White Men Can’t Jump 2 (WMCJ2). I reached out to Game Changing Films once again and mentioned I wanted to move out to Los Angeles to pursue more acting. 

I ended up packing up all my belongings and made the move out to LA. Once I landed in California, I got in touch with them, and I worked on WMCJ2 for a basketball scene. 

Within 2 months of being out in LA, I got a phone call to work on Sweetwater. I didn’t truly know the capacity of the movie until my first day on set. A few weeks later, I got to film several basketball scenes throughout a week span. When I learned it was being picked up by the NBA, I knew we were a part of a special project. 

Sweetwater is an inspiring and powerful movie. I’m delighted to have had the opportunity to be chosen to be part of this story and journey. I grew up watching sports movies, several of which inspired me to play the game of basketball. To be involved in a project of this magnitude and see it all come together was an amazing experience. It hit theatres here in the US April 14th, so make sure to check it out!”

As we celebrate Cullen’s achievements, we are also reminded of the impact that our Victory Scholar programme can have on the lives of young people. By providing opportunities for student-athletes to pursue their passions both on and off the field, our foundation is dedicated to helping to create a brighter future for the next generation.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Cullen and are confident that he will continue to make a positive impact both in and out of the entertainment industry. Congratulations, Cullen, on your success in Sweetwater and all your future endeavours!


‘Sweetwater’ (2023) official trailer – https://youtu.be/c9pITIfdLNo


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