Joe Bradford grew up without a father and lived in poverty. He was one of a few black students at a predominantly white school. As a result of a computer hacking crime, he went from standout college student to prison inmate fighting to stay alive.
After serving time at a maximum-security prison, Joe was diagnosed with severe kidney disease that left him permanently disabled. Unable to make a living, he moved into public housing, where the fatherless and oppressed neighborhood children won his heart.
Today, “Papa Joe” leads a diverse team of volunteers, offering aid and the message of hope to inner-city children and families in seven at-risk communities in the Nashville area through Elijah’s Heart.
“I heard the story of Joe’s life and thought to myself, ‘This story needs to be told and it would make a great movie,’” says Darren Moorman, co-producer of the movie Unconditional.
“We have all either been in a place of intense pain, are in a place of intense pain or we know someone who is in that place,” Moorman says. “No matter how dark your circumstances are, when you have the opportunity to help others, it makes you feel better even if your circumstances don’t immediately change.”
Unconditional, starring Michael Ealy, chronicles the life of a celebrated children’s author and illustrator named Sam. Happily married, she lives with her husband on a ranch where she keeps her beloved horse.
Sam’s storybook life comes to a devastating end when her husband dies from a senseless act of violence. She loses her faith and her will to live. Grief-stricken, Sam plans to take her own life. However, a death-defying encounter with two children thwarts her plan and leads to a reunion with Joe Bradford, “Papa Joe,” her oldest friend.
This reunion sends Sam on a journey of reconciliation, second chances, forgiveness, sacrifice and the true meaning of unconditional love. Over time, she finds her will to live returning as she witnesses Papa Joe’s selfless dedication to Nashville’s forgotten children.
Just when you think you know what is coming next in the movie, the plot takes an unexpected twist that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Oh, and don’t forget the Kleenex.
“The film’s intent is not merely to entertain, but to inspire viewers to unite and serve in their own communities,” Moorman says. “We hope that after seeing this movie, people will realize that we all can do something to help others, especially the at-risk, fatherless children.”
This film shows how one person’s life can have a truly profound effect on the world around him and spark hope for others.
One person can make a difference for good. So can you.