Ohio-born filmmaker John David Ware tackles a very important and rather confronting topic in his latest movie “Unbridled” which focuses on the subject of human trafficking. In the film, which features Oscar Nominee Eric Roberts, a young abused girl heads to an equine ranch as part of her healing process.

The movie is unarguably the biggest film of John’s career, whose previous credit was the short “The Chronicles of Hernia: The Lion, the Ditch, and the Studio.” In a recent and exclusive interview, John David Ware discussed the movie and his experiences working in show-business.

Movies, scripts, and genres

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to make Movies and how did you land upon your “big break”?

John David Ware (JDW): I was always the kid watching television in the other room. I was always kidding out in the hall drawing pictures and making roller movies, which is a shoebox and the insides of a paper towel roll that advances one frame at a time to tell a story. I had a healthy fantasy life early on. I’ve been producing shorts on for a long time, and “Unbridled” was the first feature film for me, so I consider it to be my biggest break as of now.

MM: How did you hatch the script for “Unbridled”?

JDW: There was an existing script very loosely based on stories from an equine therapy ranch called Corral in Raleigh.

I served as a Script Doctor on the film, fixing it where needed. Some of the story came from the fact that our picture horse, Dreamer was so well trained by the amazing Lindsey Partridge.

MM: Does it go without saying that you’re a fan of a thriller that encases an important message?

JDW: Yes, I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Movies that interest me usually have explosions and monsters, but that doesn’t mean there have to be real monsters and real explosions, it just has to be something extremely dramatic that apprehends your attention and usually has a great villain, aka a monster. Eric Roberts played the monster so well in our film.

MM: Can you name any specific writers that inspire you, particularly those who work in the thriller genre?

JDW: This film doesn’t fit into any particular genre. It has two distinct hooks, one is horses, and one is fighting human trafficking. In my work as a “script doctor,” I did look at “Short Term 12” to see how writer/Director, Destin Daniel Cretton handled some of the therapy scenes. I thought that movie was particularly interesting and a good study for that. Christopher McQuarrie is also an inspirational figure, especially for “The Usual Suspects.” Also, John Milius. I am continually amazed by his and Coppola’s work on “Apocalypse Now” and “The Godfather” films and many others.

Actors, aspirations, and future films

MM: Can you tell us a little bit about the cast of “Unbridled”?

JDW: The cast was fabulous, dedicated, and hard-working.

We were so blessed to have talented actors like TC Stallings, Eric Roberts, Dey Young, Jen Gotzon, Rachel Hendrix, David Topp and especially Tea McKay lending their personalities and prowess to the film. Tea was particularly a great addition because I got to cast her directly from one of my life’s passions, the 168 Film Project (Google “168 Film Project” to check out the website). Her outstanding work in 168 made her an easy choice because 168 is worldwide filmmaking incubator responsible for over 1,000 films in fifteen years. In 2018, we are making our first feature film with the short filmmakers from our competition!

MM: Career-wise, where do you see yourself in ten years and what tidbits of advice can you offer to someone who is aspiring to enter the industry, especially as a filmmaker?

JDW: In ten years, I will have written and directed five films, and I will be working toward larger and larger budgets. As for advice, I recommend that aspiring movie makers enter the 168 Film Project and get your feet wet wherever you can. Write and write and write, read and read and read, filmmake and filmmake and filmmake. Find an intellectual property that fascinates you and others, license it and get ready for when the time is right. Be ready, you may not get a better shot than the next opportunity, so make the most of it.