For the first time in cinema, iconic Masters Tournament caddie of 54 years, Carl Jackson, is opening up about his life – an extraordinary journey of triumph over obstacles interwoven through six decades of American civil, social, and political unrest.
His stories and the stories of that time have been kept in his personal vault – until now. Jackson has begun working with award-winning Chicago-based studio Sheridan Road Productions on Rise Above: The Carl Jackson Story, a documentary that will explore his life and that time in American history in a way he hopes will inspire all people to rise above their own challenges.
Despite his impoverished beginnings, as a young boy in the deep south who dropped out of school at the age of ten to support his family by caddying for some of America’s greatest golfers, Jackson’s story is not one of blame, anger, resentment, or hate. Rather, Jackson is adamant that the story of his life reflect the goodness and miracle of it all.
“I want to show people what freedom is. From an early age, I knew there was a better way than anger and rage,” said Jackson. “I want to show people that when you face injustice or seemingly insurmountable obstacles, you can either let those things defeat you, or you can rise above them. I wasn’t going to be oppressed or let my circumstances crush me. I was going to rise above.”
In Rise Above: The Carl Jackson Story, this historic figure will recognize and honor the people who helped him succeed and show how through dedication, hard-work, dignity, and strength of character, he overcame every obstacle he faced and an almost pre-ordained destiny at birth, as an uneducated, poor black child from the deep south during the decades that changed the face of America.
Acclaimed by some of the best golfers in the world for his keen understanding of the greens at Augusta National, Jackson caddied his first Masters Tournament in 1961 at the age of 14, and his final round in 2015 at the age of 67. During this time, he was on the bag for such greats as Bruce Devlin, Gary Player, and Ben Crenshaw, including Crenshaw’s Masters victories in 1984 and 1995 when one of the most epic sports photos (of Jackson and Crenshaw) of all time was taken. Today, Jackson runs a foundation called Carl’s Kids, which seeks to bring the game of golf and all of its life lessons to underserved youth.
Completion of the documentary Rise Above: The Carl Jackson Story is expected within the year. This announcement of Sheridan Road Productions’ rights to the life story of Carl Jackson comes on the heels of its latest feature film, The Road Dance, which won “The Audience Award for Best Picture” at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2021, and which celebrated its U.S. premiere at the Santa Barbara Film Festival earlier this month. Rise Above: The Carl Jackson Story is not the first golf-themed production for Sheridan Road Productions, having also produced Tommy’s Honour, which won a 2016 BAFTA Scotland best picture award, as well as the sports/lifestyle television series pilot The Golf Explorers filmed in St. Andrews in 2019.