Where Hope Grows is a tale of inspiration from a boy with Down syndrome conveying messages of faith, hope and redemption.
The world may have to prepare itself for a movie other than the typical blockbuster movie this summer. Where Hope Grows, starring Life Unexpected’s Kris Polaha, foregoes the typical car chases and bomb blasts for a message of faith, hope and redemption. Pohala plays Calvin Campbell, a former baseball star who is struggling with alcoholism and raising a teen daughter on his own (played by MaKalya Miller). Campbell meets Produce (played by David DeSantis, who has Down Syndrome in real life because of an abnormal chromosome), a young man who works at the local supermarket.
When tragedy strikes, the friendship is forged in faith and blessed with hope. The Christian Post reports that working with DeSantis on Where Hope Grows smashed several stereotypes that Pohala had about people with Down syndrome, including that they were “incapable” of work such as acting.
Many cast and crew members were cured of that prejudice when DeSantis showed up for rehearsals with most of his lines already memorized. The release of Where Hopes Grows is an opportunity for Rob Carter of Jaron Ministries International to link faith-based movies with local churches who can use them as teaching tools. The Bee also reports that Chris Dowling, writer and director of the film wanted to create a faith-based movie that both appeals to a crowd that normally isn’t attracted to such movies and provides something new for folks who are.
Where Hope Grows, as a result, might form a new genre which Dowling calls “faith-based lite” which should make the film more “inclusive” for all audiences. Beth Sullivan, Chairman of the International Down Syndrome Coalition, posted a review of the film for the Huffington Post. As the mother of a child with Down Syndrome, she is always excited to see a film where one of the main characters is played by a person with Down Syndrome. She went on to say that folks on the IDSC staff were expecting Where Hope Grows to be a cute little film starring an actor with Down Syndrome. What they found instead was a movie with a “strong message, excellent acting, and moving moments.” Where Hopes Grows opened in theaters on May 15.
— Kristoffer Polaha (@KrisPolaha) May 24, 2015