Where Hope Grows: National Premiere this Friday

Official still from #wherehopegrows, used with permission

Official still from #wherehopegrows, used with permission

It’s getting hot outside and the summer blockbusters are rolling out. Make plans to go see Where Hope Grows when it premieres this Friday, May 15, 2015 at a theater near you.

Readers of this blog are already familiar with the film, but under a different name. When shown at 2014 film festivals, the movie was titled “Produce: Where Hope Grows.” Now the subtitle is the main title. Click the trailer below to see what you’re in store for:

More information can be found at the film’s official website.

David DeSanctis, a lifelong Louisvillian where the film was shot, makes his acting debut. He’s called “Produce” because that’s the section he works in at the local supermarket. I wrote about DeSanctis being cast in the lead role in 2013 and then his Q&A after the film’s local premiere here in Louisville a year later.

DeSanctis’ story is worth reporting on: a young man with Down syndrome who had never acted professionally holding his own in a film with appearances by Billy Zabka (the perennial bully in ’80’s movies like Karate Kid) and Danica McKellar (who played Winnie Cooper on the The Wonder Years).

In the film, Produce plays a pivotal role, helping to turn around the life of the lead character, Calvin Campbell, played by Kristoffer Polaha. Where I hope that hope grows is based on the line featured in the trailer from Campbell about his friend Produce:

You spend a second with this kid, and you realize he’s just like you and me.

The film provides an opportunity for thousands who have not gotten to know someone with Down syndrome the chance to spend time with Produce for the movie’s 95 minute run time.

By spending time with individuals with Down syndrome, you have the same realization as the film’s lead character: they are just like us. The apparent differences, from the facial features shared by many with Down syndrome, to the way they talk, become less characteristics of Down syndrome. The more you get to know about their likes, dislikes, concerns, and dreams, the more those seemingly “different” characteristics become just a part of all the rest that makes them a wholly unique individual, just like you and me.

Having been shown at several film festivals and local screenings, the film has already caused hope to grow. The producer, Milan Chakraborty, shared how a father whose young daughter has Down syndrome approached him after seeing the film. The father said that seeing DeSanctis’ performance changed what he thought was possible for his daughter.

That will certainly be the case for many who go see Where Hope Grows. I hope you will be one of them.

Where Hope Grows premieres this Friday, May 15, 2015, at theaters across the nation. Local Down syndrome support organizations are planning movie outings for their members. Down Syndrome of Louisville’s members can meet the star David DeSanctis before and after the 7 pm showing Sunday, May 17, 2015, at Tinseltown Theaters. More info at this link. I hope to see you there. 


  1. Kari Wagner-Peck says:

    “The father said that seeing DeSanctis’ performance changed what he thought was possible for his daughter.” That’s a remarkable thing:)

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