Ever since screenwriter Jodi Johnson knew what a horse was, they fascinated her.
“All my life growing up I wanted to be a horse trainer,” she says, but God also gave her the dream of being a screenwriter. She went to every Saturday matinee as a kid, and during college she studied with Syd Field in Los Angeles. “Horse training and instructing was my day job while I went to school for screenwriting. I feel like God has taught me so much about life through working with horses.”
Saving Winston is her first feature film and tells the story of a troubled teen girl struggling to find purpose and hope. Through the rehabilitation of an abandoned horse and the influence of her Christian aunt, her life changes. Johnson drew from personal experience to write the story. “I had a student I’d coached when she was really young. Several years later she went through rehab [like my character Ashley] and her family approached me to see if she could come out and help me with the horses. I see being a riding instructor as a ministry, a mentorship. I want to be an example to today’s youth. My life growing up wasn’t always perfect either, so I know both sides. The Saving Winston story came from that initial instance with my student and then just reflecting on my own life and what I feel the Lord’s taught me.”
Johnson hopes viewers see that even if they’ve fallen short, God will still use them. “Just being real is our goal for Saving Winston and all the films we make. We want them to be authentic, about real people who aren’t perfect. We want to connect with people on a real level. God is always forgiving,” Johnson emphasizes. “Don’t think you’re hopeless because you haven’t lived a perfect life.”