From The Rough is a story based on the inspiring life of Coach Catana Starks. Coach Starks gave up a secure job as the women's swim coach at Tennessee State University (an HBCU located in Nashville) to take on the challenge of starting a men's golf program. In doing so, she made history by becoming the first woman and the first African American woman to coach a men’s college golf team.
With determination, passion, and courage, she took an unlikely group of young men from around the world, who would not have had an opportunity to succeed or play golf, and created a world-class team that she coached to an all-time record at the Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) National Collegiate Minority Championship.
The movie features an all-star cast, scroll down to read all about them!
When the Board of Trustees at Tennessee State University decides to start a golf program, athletic director Kendrick Paulsen Jr. reluctantly selects Coach Starks, the women's swim coach and only candidate willing to take on the team, as the leader of his new program. Coach Starks, who views golf fondly from past experience, eagerly trades in her swim cap for golf clubs. In doing so, she becomes not only the first African American men’s golf coach, but also the first female one in a sport historically hostile to both African Americans and women. And, as she begins looking for golfers, she discovers that her new coaching position is going to be a far more difficult than she anticipated.
Whilst Coach Starks had played golf in college, she finds coaching to be a very challenging assignment, especially as most young golfers won’t risk their future careers on the uncertainties of a start-up team.
So, Coach Starks begins her recruitment program without a golf coaching background, winning record, or allies. Young American golfers interested in her program prove to be as scarce as her resources and credentials. Eventually, she turns to other countries to recruit a group of mismatched, underprivileged young golfers (“other people’s table scraps”) and becomes another first: the first coach at Tennessee State University with a predominantly international team.
Overcoming many obstacles, Coach Starks guides her team to an all-time record at the PGA National Collegiate Minority Championship. She redefines herself and teaches her players how to assert themselves in a world that has discredited them. She teaches them the skills required to play “From the Rough”, how to position themselves in the literal tall grasses of the golf course and how to gain character and confidence from their metaphorical “rough” pasts.
From the Rough Productions is a team dedicated to producing original, independent movies, such as From The Rough, and we need your help!
The great thing about making an independent movie is that we do not have to answer to a major studio. We have complete creative license. In movies backed by studios, the producers must agree with the studio’s specific vision, which is largely determined by its target audience. Studios focus their production on 15-25 year olds, who have more time to go to the movies. In the hopes that the film will be released all over the world, they center their entire infrastructure on distributing large budget films with lots of action, special effects, story lines and cast members they believe will please this demographic. If the studio entertains them, then they make huge profits, which they can expand by making movie-themed action figures, merchandise, amusement park rides, theme park characters, stuffed animals, video games, board games, and card games. This isn’t a critical comment; it’s a simple truth.
We don’t want to do any of that. We realize that this specific audience isn’t the only audience and that there is actually a large demand for movies that aren’t full of special effects and action, that portray real life.
Our movie celebrates real life with the story of an everyday hero, Coach Catana Starks. We honor real people, real heroes, heroes who aren’t wearing capes and masks. They’re standing next to us in line, strolling down the street and, altering our lives with their everyday heroics.
When our executive producer, Mike Critelli (you can meet him in the video above) approached Hollywood about this movie, the big studios and their financiers told him that PG rated movies that lack action scenes, sex, gross out comedy, extensive cursing or violence don’t “travel well” internationally. They told him movies like ours belong on Lifetime and Hallmark TV or niche cable channels, not in theaters.
They didn’t appreciate that all movies don’t need to alter or enhance reality. From the Rough draws its finesse from real life, from real dialogue from real people. In our test screenings, audiences left refreshed and inspired by a true story, not entranced by another fantasy.
The not-so-great thing about making an independent movie is that we don’t have a studio! (Huh, didn’t we just say the exact opposite?) The truth of the matter is that studios have access to money. A studio, with its numerous employees and countless boosters, can protect itself by producing many movies each year, some of which will flop and some of which will do well. Its successful movies, the box office triumphs, bring in revenue and offset the movies that don't do so well. To increase profits, studios can then do what they do best: turn entertainment into a business. They sell and sell and sell!
We didn’t want this studio franchising. And we certainly don't need a studio to try to spice up our movie!
The movie is complete and ready to be released. We are just beginning our awareness building programs.
We need your help to get the movie out into theaters in America and across the globe. The money we raise through this program will enable more theaters to show the movie and so more people can be inspired by Coach Starks. It costs us over $1,000 just to get the movie onto each big screen.
Every pledge is one more fan, one more person who wants to send a message to Hollywood, to distributors, to prospective investors, and to exhibitors that movies like From The Rough have broad appeal and need to be supported.
As a thank you for your generous pledges, we have put together some exclusive and exciting ‘perks’ for you, including:
- Having your name on the movie and DVD credits
- A phone call from one of the movie’s stars
- VIP access to a movie premiere and after-party
We understand that not everyone can contribute monetarily. There are other ways to help out! Please help us and get involved by spreading the word about our movie. Please visit the website and sign up to receive our newsletter, like and share our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and spread the word to all your friends and family.
Taraji P. Henson as “Coach Catana Starks”
The film stars Taraji P. Henson, best known for her Academy Award Nominated Best Supporting Actress Role as Queenie in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). Henson is also known for her critically acclaimed role as Vernell Watson, in the Petey Greene Biopic Talk to Me (2007), Shug in Hustle and Flow (2005), and her breakout role as Yvette in Baby Boy (2001). She has also appeared in Tyler Perry's I Can Do Bad All By Myself, and the box office hit, Think Like A Man. She currently co-stars in the CBS series Person of Interest, and has appeared in over 23 films. Henson is the lead in From The Rough and stars as Coach Starks.
Tom Felton as “Edward”
Tom Felton is an English actor and musician. He is best known for playing the role of Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film series, the film adaptations of the best-selling Harry Potter fantasy novels by author J. K. Rowling, (for which he auditioned at age twelve). Because of his global popularity from the Harry Potter series, he has over 5 million members in his worldwide fan club. Tom plays Edward, one of Coach Starks' golfing recruits from England in From The Rough.
Michael Clarke Duncan as “Roger”
Michael Clarke Duncan, is best known for his breakout role as John Coffey in The Green Mile, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. In From The Rough, his final film before his untimely passing, Michael plays the omnipotent conscience and Coach Starks' motivator, and ironically almost "guardian angel" Roger. Duncan was also recognized for his roles in such popular films as Armageddon, The Whole Nine Yards, The Scorpion King, and Daredevil, as well as voice acting roles in works such as Brother Bear and Kung Fu Panda.
LeToya Luckett as “Stacey”
LeToya Luckett is a singer, songwriter, actress and motivational speaker. She has released many chart-leading recordings and was an original member of the R&B group, Destiny's Child, winning two Grammy Awards. Luckett starred in the movie Preacher's Kid. She's part of the cast of the feature film Killers, had a recurring role on the second season of the HBO-TV series Treme, and co-stars in the GMC series, For Richer Or Poorer. LeToya plays the role of Stacey, Coach Stark's star swimmer and becomes the love interest of Edward in From The Rough.