Film based on Nashville ministry leader hits theaters - WSMV Channel 4

Film based on Nashville ministry leader hits theaters

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A new film features the story of a friendship that rekindles after a great loss and one person fighting the odds to make a difference in his community, and it is all based on the story of a man who lives right here in Nashville.

In fact, some of the movie was filmed in Nashville.

Many people who know Joe Bradford simply know him as a community guy who works with needy kids, but in Unconditional, viewers also learn about his dark past and road to redemption.

"First of all it's amazing because Michael Ealy is one of the most handsome men in America, so I know a lot of people are going to think we're twins, but we're not," Bradford said.

Bradford went from standout student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to prisoner after hacking into a banking system in the 1980s.

"While I was there, I helped the sheriff learn how to use his computer system. I taught the staff how to use its computer, because I was a hacker," Bradford said.

When he was released, set-backs kept coming, including health problems and a new life in Nashville's public housing system.

Still, he found his passion in helping needy children.

During that time, he also reunited with his childhood friend, played in the film by Lynn Collins. She lost her husband, and in turn, her faith. But together they help each other heal.

Again, the story is true, and Elijah's Heart, his ministry for fatherless children, is alive and well in Nashville.

Reegus Flenory is one of the actors in the movie, and he said there are universal messages of redemption and forgiveness.

"The thing that makes it relatable is you can find a parent, a family member, an uncle, a cousin - someone in that story - that's just like you," Flenory said.

"The biggest message I want people to take away is love in action. Not just talking about it, but moving in action to help these children. It's a lot of fatherless children in our own backyard," Bradford said.

The movie hits theaters Friday and is rated PG-13. And because it is a faith-based film, many churches across the country are even renting out theaters for screenings.

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