Last night I had the opportunity to watch a free screening of the upcoming film, Where Hope Grows. Local radio station, 104.9 The River, offered the screening at AMC Theaters at Easton Town Center. I was pleasantly surprised when right before the film started, they introduced us to Milan Chakraborty, a Where Hope Grows producer. Chakraborty is from a small town in Indiana (a fellow Hoosier) who has worked on set of some huge films, including Batman. He shared details of what it took to push Where Hope Grows to the masses, including how difficult it was to get Hollywood’s interest, including when trying to recruit actors to be a part of the cast, yet the producers and staff of the film were persistent and persevered to successfully get the movie into select theaters across the nation. When asked what kept the staff going, he stated, “You have to understand you’re doing something bigger than yourself.”
(Please excuse the poor quality of the video. Movie theater lighting is not the best.)
Although a Christian film, Where Hope Grows is not overly religious and its story is a beautiful one, going someplace Hollywood has never gone before. The main character in the movie who goes by the name Produce, has Down Syndrome. The actor who plays this character is David Desanctis, who has Down Syndrome in real life. You do not see many actors with disabilities like Down Syndrome getting major roles, which is why this film is so special. Milan Chakraborty shared that David was a local in Kentucky where some of the filming took place. This film was his first time ever acting and memorizing over 130 lines. His witty personality added much humor and delight to the film and his character was the catalyst that inspired Calvin Campbell, played by Kristoffer Polaha, to make some much need lifestyle changes. Although the main actor and character of Where Hope Grows has Down Syndrome, it is not the film’s focus, rather the idea of allowing unexpected factors and people to inspire you to do something different and desire to live life, fulfilling your purpose.
Check out the official trailer of Where Hope Grows, in theaters May 15: