Inspirational coming-of-age film ‘Rally Caps’ is based on true events and channels classic sports movies. The independent film, which is currently in post-production, is adapted from the book by father-daughter writing team Stephen J. Cutler and Jodi Michelle Cutler. The story focuses on a young boy named Jordy, whose father has died. Jordy sustains a serious injury during a Little League baseball tryout, but when he goes to summer camp he’s inspired to come back to the mound as he forms a friendship with a deaf boy named Lucas. Together, they form a special bond both as friends and as a pitcher/catcher duo, and lead their team in the camp championship game. The tale harkens back to classics of the past, while giving a fresh spin on current social issues.
‘Rally Caps’ was written and directed by Lee Cipolla (‘The Shift’, ‘Know Thy Enemy’, ‘Harder They Fall’). It began filming in June 2021, during the height of the Covid pandemic, and stars Judd Hirsch (‘Uncut Gems’, ‘Independence Day’, ‘Taxi’), Amy Smart (‘Star Girl’, ‘The Butterfly Effect’, ‘Varsity Blues’) and Carson Minniear (‘Palmer’).
Colten Pride, son of former Major League Deaf player Curtis Pride, plays Lucas, and his sister, Noelle Pride, also has a major role in the film. Curtis himself makes a cameo appearance as a baseball mentor and inspiration for Jordy. Other notable baseball figures appear, including Orioles legend Brooks Robinson and ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian.
The film’s producers include Katherine Borda (‘Know Thy Enemy’, ‘Occupational Hazzard’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’), Amy Williams (‘Rock Paper Dead’, ‘Mothers and Daughters’) and William Garcia (‘The Shift’, ‘Followed’, ‘Samland’). Stephen J Cutler will serve as executive producer.
‘Rally Caps’ was pitched to William Garcia by Lee Cipolla during the pandemic. William and Lee had previously collaborated on the 2013 feature film ‘The Shift’, starring Danny Glover (‘Lethal Weapon’) and Leo Oliva (‘The Last Ship’).
Garcia was drawn to the poignant, fun-filled, baseball-centered script, as it celebrated inclusion, resilience and “the ability in disability”.Garcia said: “Hirsch and Smart have many years of experience in the industry, and it showed in the professionalism and smooth filming experience they brought to the set. Minniear is an up-and-coming actor who was a brilliant find for the role of Jordy. He showed his potential and stepped up to the plate with such veteran actors.
“It was an absolute pleasure filming with Lee and the team. We’ve worked together before, and it felt very natural – like working with my best friend. Having over 30 minors on set was a unique challenge, but I love shooting family-friendly films. Producing ‘Rally Caps’ was such a fun experience.”
Garcia was brought up in Miami but his parents were Cuban. He started his career in the 1980s in news, documentaries and sports. He covered stories including the NASA space shuttle missions, and even broadcast a live show from the former Soviet Union. After his award-winning career in broadcasting, William moved into film, eventually becoming a producer and director for features, commercials and music videos. He grew up surrounded by Latino culture, salsa music and dancing, but he also had a great love for Spielberg, which informs ‘Rally Caps’. As he said: “I’m a Spielberg fan, and this movie is very much in the genre that I love”.