published Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Chattanoogan a co-producer of faith-based film set to open

If the life of Papa Joe Bradford is any indication, love is an action verb.

"Unconditional," a movie inspired by a Nashville man who tirelessly assists underprivileged children, will be released across the country this week.

The Harbinger Media Partners release, according to the movie website, carries the theme that God is present even at the most difficult of times.

Though "Unconditional" has a faith-based theme, co-producer Darren Moorman, a Chattanooga resident, said it has potential as a crossover film.

"The mainstream audience will enjoy and love this film because the story is so compelling and the acting is so good," Moorman said. "It doesn't have to be a faith-based audience to enjoy the film."

In the film, happily married Samantha Crawford loses her faith and will to live when her husband is killed in a senseless act of violence. But an unexpected encounter

with two children leads her to a reunion with Joe, her oldest friend. As she watches him love and care for the children in his under-resourced neighborhood, she begins to realize that no matter life's circumstances, the love of God is always seeking us.

Bradford, once jailed for computer hacking, "discovered [in prison] that God loved him," according to Moorman. Since then, "he has given his life in helping kids without fathers" and "showed kids and other people that they are loved."

"Unconditional," opening Friday, stars Lynn Collins ("John Carter," "X-Men Origins: Wolverine") and Michael Ealy ("Think Like a Man," "Seven Pounds").

Moorman said quite a few churches and parachurch ministries across the country are buying bulk tickets and renting out theaters for showings.

Locally, The Net Church, which meets at Rave Motion Pictures, will offer it to worshipers as part of its 9:30 a.m. service on Sept. 30.

Pastor Ryan May, who has a background in film and has previewed the movie, said the quality of "Unconditional" "is as good as anything you'll see."

Its parallel themes, he said, are ministering to the less fortunate and the healing power of love.

Though the inspiration of the Nashville man is at the core of "Unconditional," Moorman said, "our hope is that everyone who comes will be entertained [and] inspired to a greater good."

"At the core, we've made a film, a piece of art that will be enjoyed by many," he said. "Behind the scenes, we hope it will inspire people to an action, [specifically to] taking care of those who are hurting."

Moorman said he believes there is room for more faith-based films at the box office. "I know the audience is hungry for more."

Moorman himself filmed part of his first feature film, the 2001 Santa Clara Film Festival winner "All Over Again," in Chattanooga.

His other credits include associate producer of "Marilyn Hotchkiss' Ballroom Dancing & Charm School," an official selection of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival; co-producer of 2007's "The Fifth Patient," co-producer of 2006's "The Sensation of Sight" and associate producer of 2010's "Jack and the Beanstalk." He recently worked as co-producer on "Crackerjack," with Jeff Foxworthy, which opens in 2013.

For "Unconditional," he said, he was part of the entire process as the film was being developed and made.

Contact Clint Cooper at ccooper@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6497. Subscribe to his posts online at Facebook.com/ClintCooperCTFP.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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