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Jack Nicklaus

BIG READ: VIFF Favourite BECOMING REDWOOD Opens at International Village Today

Published April12, 2013 on Vancouver is Awesome

Jesse James Miller’s feature film Becoming Redwood is rooted in some of his own experiences: his love of golf which led him to turn pro at the age of 19 and hero-worship Jack Nicklaus’s six green-jacket wins at The Masters golf tournament; his hippie father’s flight to Canada as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War; and the shuttle back and forth between his parents after their divorce. But Miller never dreamed as a young boy that his parents would reunite if he beat Jack Nicklaus at The Masters, as 10-year-old Redwood Forest Hanson (Ryan Grantham) does in the Vancouver writer-director’s endearing film.

Becoming Redwood opens in Vancouver today at the Cineplex International Village, one day after the 77th Masters got underway in Augusta, Georgia, with the legendary Jack Nicklaus. who’s won the tournament more than any other golfer, as an honourary starter.

The Story: In 1969, two-year-old Redwood watches helpless from the backseat of a Volkswagen van as his mother Jade (Miller’s wife Jennifer Copping) leaves his draft-dodging father Ethan (Chad Willett) at the Canadian border. Eight years later, his  father is arrested for dope dealing in B.C. and golf-obsessed long-haired Redwood (Ryan Grantham) must return to the U.S. to  live with his mother, her two teen sons (Tyler Johnson and Todd Potter), her red-neck husband Arnold (Derek Hamilton) and Arnold’s basement-dwelling elderly father Earl (Scott Hylands) in northern California. How to deal with all this trauma? Redwood imagines beating the “Golden Bear”, aka  Jack Nicklaus, at the Masters will solve all his problems. Or as the movie’s poster puts it: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Turn Pro.

Becoming Redwood production still – Courtesy of Jesse James Miller

Becoming Redwood production still – courtesy of Jesse James Miller

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