Opening in theaters May 15, Where Hope Grows centers on Calvin Campbell, a disillusioned ex-baseball player (Kristoffer Polaha) who forms an unlikely bond with Produce (David DeSanctis), a grocery store employee with Down Syndrome. McKaley Miller (Hart of Dixie) co-stars as Calvin’s daughter Katie.
Directed and written by Chris Dowling, the film does have its faith based elements, but it also contains universal storylines (addiction, abusive relationships, the power of unconditional friendships) that raises it above the average cookie-cutter melodrama.
Part of Miller’s experiences on Where Hope Grows was getting the chance to work with David DeSanctis:
“Being on the set with David and never having an experience with Down Syndrome before was an amazing experience. I learned so much from David and just from being on that set – just to never judge a book by its cover. Down Syndrome does not define him, as Chris Dowling says, and that is what I really took away from (Where Hope Grows).”
Where Hope Grows also features an innate chemistry between Miller and Polaha. As witnessed from the underrated TV series Life Unexpected, Polaha has a knack for playing arrested development challenged (yet ultimately nurturing) dads, and both he and Miller do fine work in the feature.
In the clip below, McKaley Miller talks about bonding with Polaha over breakfast before shooting Where Hope Grows: