Fans of the Dayton Flyers fell in love with Kyle Davis between 2013, when he exploded onto the scene with a dunk at the Maui Invitational as a freshman, and 2017, when he jumped onto the scorer’s table at UD Arena to celebrate an Atlantic 10 Conference championship. He was a hard-nosed defender who could score, too, and helped lead UD to four straight NCAA tournaments.
Dave Parfitt saw those same attributes while directing a new basketball documentary, “Eight Nations,” which will hold its world premiere at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at The Neon during the 2021 Dayton Independent Film Festival, an event planned by University of Dayton faculty and students.
“That dude just gives 120 percent every second,” Parfitt said. “He’s playing defense. He’s into it. That man wants to win more than anything.”
Parfitt and Davis crossed paths in 2018 when he started filming “Eight Nations,” first in Las Vegas, Nev., and then in Suzhou, China. The documentary focuses on the performance of Team World Vision, led by coach Daimon Beathea, at the Eight Nations tournament.
On Parfitt’s website, the film is summarized in this way: “Every player dreams of the NBA, but those lucky enough to make it only represent ‘The 1%’ when it comes to professional basketball. Eight Nations shines a light on compelling stories from the far reaches of this unique profession. Players scraping at what they can to make money and keep their dreams alive.”
Team World Vision, representing the United States, beat teams from Poland, Australia and China on its way to a championship game victory against the tournament favorite, Nigeria. Davis was named the MVP of the tournament, and the performance opened the door for him to play in Argentina for the next two seasons.
“I had some veteran leadership, and there were a lot of young guys,” Davis said. “I just played my game.”
Davis did not play overseas last season, and he’s working on securing his next opportunity. First, he’ll travel to Dayton to attend the premiere. He hopes Dayton fans come out to support him and the film. Tickets are available at DaytonFilmFest.com.
“Eight Nations” also includes footage of Davis in a Dayton uniform and playing in the NBA G League and him talking about his career path.
“I was really nervous about what was my next move after college,” said Davis, a 6-foot guard who was part of the winningest class in Dayton history and scored 830 points in four seasons, in the documentary. “Calls started coming in. I started doing workouts, making sacrifices to give myself energy.
“A lot of people want the NBA stamp. The NBA is not a big goal for me. I just look at myself and I try to be realistic. Everybody is not meant to be in the NBA. I’m not saying I can’t make it, but why be stuck on one dream, one goal? Why be stuck on trying to make it to the NBA when I can go someplace else and have a great career somewhere else, and then later down the road, the door might open for me to go to the NBA.”
Davis wasn’t on Parfitt’s radar when he started pre-production on the film. The film also focuses on Chadrack Lufile, who played for Wichita State’s Final Four team in 2013; Vashil Fernandez, who played at Valparaiso from 2012-16; and the coach, Bethea, who played at Michigan State from 1992-96.
Once Parfitt interviewed Davis and saw him play, he realized Davis needed to have a major role as well.
“He ended up being the best player on the team,” Parfitt said, “basically the heart and soul of the team.”