CARY, NC - The film Unbridled starts off on a bleak note. A woman named Karen is being abused by her boyfriend, Roger, and turns to alcohol. Roger is prostituting Karen’s daughter, Sarah, somewhat with her mother’s knowledge.
But the independent movie being filmed this month in Wake County ultimately tells a story of faith and redemption.
It’s inspired by Corral Riding Academy in Cary, a program that pairs girls who have experienced trauma and abuse with rescue horses.
In the film, Corral becomes Unbridled, the riding academy where the character of Sarah is able to heal and can work on her fractured relationship with her mother.
Part of the film is being shot at a local residence, not far from the real Corral, which was founded by Joy Currey in 2008 on her family property off Kildaire Farm Road.
Eric Roberts, an award-winning actor and perennial film villain, is playing Roger in a scene being shot in the kitchen. He was in the area last week to film scenes.
Christy McGlothlin, the film’s producer and vice president of Wendell-based Moving Visions Entertainment, was spurred to create “Unbridled” after hearing about Corral from her daughter, Lindsey Wade, a Corral volunteer. McGlothlin visited Corral with Wade, 21, at an end-of-year event and was moved to share the riding academy’s story with a broader audience.
“I was pretty much awestruck by what they do,” McGlothlin said from a bedroom in the residence that has been transformed into wardrobe headquarters. “The impact that they have on the girls, the way the girls’ lives had just really changed for the better. ... When I left, I thought, ‘Wow, if we could capture what they do in a drama, I think it would be extremely inspiring on a couple of fronts.’ ”
The girls who go through the Corral program receive counseling, mentoring and tutoring and spend time working with horses who may have experienced abuse and similar feelings of abandonment. The program reached a major milestone in January after reaching a $1 million fundraising goal, which will allow Currey to buy 10 acres of the property it occupies and eventually expand the program.
Actress Dey Young, who plays Karen, likes the idea that the film, with its universal message, could enable more Corral-type programs to spring up across the country.
California-based actor T.C. Stallings said he likes films that will “allow people to react to make somebody better.” He starred in last year’s “War Room,” a faith-based film that hit No. 1 at the box office.
“I like when there’s elements of truth in it,” said Stallings, who also is an author and motivational speaker. “To see people go and look up this place, and to see the work that they do, that’s interesting.”
In “Unbridled,” he plays a detective haunted by his daughter’s disappearance, presumably to sex trafficking.