Interviews: Director John David Ware Talks About His Upcoming Drama Unbridled

John David Ware directed Unbridled, an unforgettable and captivating feature that chronicles the journey of an abused girl who teams up with an abused horse and their journey to healing.

Sarah is a 16-year-old girl who is abused, emotionally abandoned and written off as just another hopeless causality of this world. Her mother’s boyfriend, Roger, secretly involves Sarah in a sex traffic ring, and her mother, Karen, unsure of what to do, is afraid to stand up for her. Sarah thinks she is beyond redemption and unworthy of love and is sent away from the house that defined her horrors to a place where she is not the only victim, or the only one fighting to get her life back, a ranch called Unbridled. At Unbridled, Sarah meets Dreamer, a horse who has also suffered abuse, a horse who no longer trusts humans... That is, until he meets his girl, Sarah. Together, Sarah and Dreamer walk a difficult road and learn that family doesn’t just happen, it’s made with hard work. They face many hardships and overcome terrifying obstacles, but in the end, Sarah experiences redemption and learns that love is the most powerful thing on earth. Together, they all learn to live Unbridled.

TMS: When did you decide you wanted to make movies?

JDW: I was always the kid watching TV in the other room. I was always kid 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.

TMS: Did you have a lot of support in that decision?

JDW: No. I got bored in Ohio and really just ran out of options. I wrote my 1st screenplay (which was horrible) and decided to follow the dream where it led, which was to L.A. I knew God had me destined to be out there in Hollywood, but I was reluctant to leave my friends. I remember some of my closest friends were laughing or trying to dissuade me or refusing to believe I was really leaving.

TMS: How does one start though? Do you enroll in film school or just go out there with your camera and shoot something – I imagine it’s different for everyone?

JDW: Yes it is a different path for probably every person, but it all comes down to learning about the craft and doing it. I run a thing called 168 Film (, which is an incubator for filmmakers worldwide. It has been responsible for well over 1000 films in 15 years and it is the single best thing I know to grow up filmmakers without spending a ton of money on film school. They have to “just do it” with the limited knowledge they have and of course they get much better and more prepared and smarter when they are forced to make decisions with very limited resources and very limited time. We also provide training. It’s incredible the growth I have seen over the 15 years we’ve been doing it. In 2018, we are making our first feature film with the short filmmakers from our competition! It is a tight knit community even as sprawling is as it is worldwide.

TMS: How did you come up with the name of your prod company?

JDW: 8168 productions comes from my work at 168 Film. Originally 168 was a speed film competition: make a 10 minute film in 168 hours, or one week. Since we have such a great brand and it’s recognized, we decided to continue that branding with the same sort of number. 8,168 hours is about a year. That’s about the time we expect to take to go from script to screen with the feature coming in 2018.

TMS: For Unbridled, How did you come up with the concept for this film?

JDW: There was an existing script very loosely based on stories from an equine therapy ranch called Corral in Raleigh, NC. I served as a Script Doctor on the film, fixing it where needed. A lot of the story came from the things our talented animal star, Dreamer was able to do, thanks to his amazing trainer, Lindsey Partridge.

TMS: And why was it decided to make the movie now? Right time?

JDW: Human trafficking is an enormous problem in this world. There are more slaves today than there have been at any time and that is disgusting, wrong, perverted and horrible. If we can shine a light onto this ignominious practice and save just one person or make the awareness enough to where this issue is recognized by a policeman or an emergency room doctor, then we will have done our job. We are currently working with the Salvation Army and many others in the human trafficking fight. What I want to do is to make this available for awareness and for encouraging those on the front lines of the battle. The film shows a very hopeful triumph over these forces of darkness.

TMS: I imagine, like most movies, the film will get its widest release on VOD. Can you tell us about the rollout?

JDW: We are still working on the distribution strategy. I am sure that VOD will be a big part.

TMS: Indie filmmakers really suffer from online piracy. What’s your take on all these pirate boxes – like KODI – will the powers-that-be be able to stop them?

JDW: I would love it if they would stop the pirates, but that will probably never happen. I’ve got too much to think about without thinking about piracy. As well as the fact that a lot of those people likely would never buy a movie ticket or watch it on TV anyway.

TMS: And just how much does piracy hurt filmmakers?

JDW: I’m sure it does hurt them to a degree, But it hurts the Studios more. They are the ones who are really concerned with that.

TMS: What do you hope for this movie?

JDW: I’m hoping for a wide release in theaters, online and on TV. Ultimately, I want it raise awareness and to encourage those in the battle. Unbridled will show many victims and warriors in the fight that there is good reason to be hopeful and you can beat the forces of darkness in this world.