Where Hope Grows, a one-of-a-kind movie, is due for release in theaters May 15. This engaging movie features David DeSanctis, who is the first feature film leading actor with Down Syndrome, as the delightful, pivotal character named Produce, and Kristoffer Polaha as Calvin Campbell, who is a self-destructive former pro ball player whose life is changed by Produce. Campbell’s endearing encounters with Produce get this pro ball player’s life and his family’s on track. Best known for his work in the television shows Ringer and Life Unexpected, Kristoffer Polaha is making strides in the entertainment industry with movies and TV.
In an exclusive interview, leading actor Kristoffer Polaha, has shared the following with Sonoma Christian Home. SCH Editor at Large Dr. Diane Howard reports.
SCH: Is this a family movie?
KP: It is a PG-13 movie due to thematic issues involving drinking and teen sexuality, as well as for brief language and an accident scene. However, Where Hope Grows, is a believable engaging story of adversity and triumph that follows professional baseball player Calvin Campbell, who has been sent to an early retirement due to panic attacks at the plate. As his life has started to head in a downward spiral, it is suddenly rescued by an unlikely person – Produce (played by DeSanctis), a young man with Down syndrome who works at the local grocery store. The film explores the unlikely pair’s bond and friendship while dealing with universal themes of hope, love and willingness to change in the midst of adversity.
SCH: Who will find it inspirational?
KP: In a special screening of this movie to an audience for which 70% have Down’s Syndrome and another screening at the Phoenix Film Festival with a general audience, some who had self-destructive addictions, both had enthusiastic positive responses and feedback indicating that the movie has universal, inspirational appeal for general and disabled audiences.
SCH: What was it like to work with David DeSanctis?
KP: It has been a rich experience on and off camera. David De Sanctis is remarkably intelligent, pleasant, and hard-working. I have experienced a real, present connection with David in rehearsal and in filming. David De Sanctis is charming and charismatic. He is like “lighting in a bottle.” David DeSanctis was exemplary on and off set. I am glad that audiences who see this movie will be uplifted by David’s upbeat humor and performance.
SCH: What is the basic storyline?
KP: When Campbell befriends Produce, Campbell learns lessons of courage as he is able to see life through Produce’s eyes. While Produce is able to reinvigorate new life in Calvin, the hardened baseball player must find redemption through faith, hope and love even in the midst of trials and tragedies in this powerful film.
Calvin Campbell has had talent for the big leagues, but he has struggled with the curveballs life has thrown him. As the movie begins, Campbell mindlessly sleepwalks through his days and the challenges of raising his teenage daughter. His life is in a slow downward spiral when it is suddenly awakened and invigorated by the most unlikely person – Produce, a young-man with Down syndrome named who works at the local grocery store.
Calvin slowly loses the chip on his shoulder as he begins to experience the world through Produce’s eyes. Faith, work, purpose and most importantly family, blossom into Calvin’s life as their friendship develops. The unlikely pair becomes intertwined giving Calvin’s life new meaning and purpose. Audiences are sure to be amazed and inspired by the story and performances in this movie about finding redemption through faith, hope and love.
SCH: What are the major themes of the movie?
KP: It is a movie about finding redemption through faith, hope and love. Produce helps Calvin, whose life has been spiraling downward, to find courage, redemption, and a new start on and off the baseball field.
Jonathan King has written on Sonoma Christian Home that this movie is “…a film that proves disabilities and past mistakes don’t define us.” “We are thrilled to be releasing the award-winning Where Hope Grows to the North American movie-going audience,” Roadside Attractions Co-President Howard Cohen said to Christian Post. “It is a film with an uplifting spirit and performances that will touch your heart.” Producer Simran Singh has said “We are excited to be working with Roadside Attractions to bring this moving story of love and hope to the big screen…Audiences around the world will fall in love with David DeSantis as he lights up the screen thanks to an exceptional director, cast and crew.”
This new film from Roadside Attractions studio has won last year’s Heartland Film Festival Audience Choice Award. In online trailers for Where Hope Grows viewers see DeSanctis shine as Produce, who cheerfully introduces himself to Campbell, portrayed by Kristoffer Polaha.”I’m doing good, even when I’m doing bad I’m doing good,” Produce tells Calvin in the first look at the film.
Written by Diane Howard, Ph.D. (Performance Studies), DianeHoward.com