I stumbled onto the 2015 Reel Abilities Film Festival, Cincinnati venue, because of a fundraising event for the DSAGC (Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati). The Cincinnati Reds generously provided the venue for a screening of Where Hope Grows. Even though the fundraiser was in the evening AND downtown, and Greg was out of town, I bought tickets and went to the event, along with about 400 other people.
|The most startled|
In my review of the film, I want to first say, MAD PROPS to the people who make any film. It’s a huge undertaking, and I know this one was no exception.
The synopsis of the film: “A baseball star forced into early retirement struggles to adjust to the curve ball life has thrown him. He finds new life through an unexpected friendship with Produce, a local grocery store clerk who has Down syndrome.”
First important fact. Bad old Johnny (William Zabka), from The Karate Kid (1984), is in this film. He hasn’t learned much, it appears, now drinking his sorrows away and making more bad choices.
Second important fact, David DeSanctis, in his first feature film, does a wonderful job in his role as Produce.
Third important fact, the story contained a number of tropes or cliches. But I acknowledge it must be a challenge to make a film without any.
Fourth important fact, I was not tricked at the part where the plot twist threw us for a curve. But the teenage girl with Down syndrome who was sitting two rows in front of me was devastated and her distress made me cry. She was the reason I want to be positive overall about this film.
As a middle-class, privileged, white person, I have little understanding of what it’s like to be in a minority group who never sees someone like themselves in the media. I loved it that all the young people with Down syndrome in the room saw someone just like them who was living out one of his dreams. David was actually at the premiere and answered questions afterward.
There are upcoming Reel Abilities Film Festivals in cities across the US, including New York and Atlanta. Do consider supporting the RAFF if it comes to your town. What a celebration of hope this film festival is! So many people in the world who are doing the most amazing things, even when they are blind, or deaf, or have some other type of disability. Your support means so much to those with disabilities and their families.
|The ham and cheesiest|
Also, whatever else these corporations may do, I deeply appreciate their corporate sponsorship of the RAFF. Major sponsors included Macy’s, Saul Schottenstein Foundation, Hatton Foundation, Barking Fish, The Cincinnati Enquirer, the city of Cincinnati, and many more.
Here is a list of films shown at the festival. Keep an eye out for them in the future.