Smithfield author wins film awards

Published 4:30 pm Saturday, March 10, 2018

Smithfield author Kay Kerr parlayed her passion for Corolla horses into writing a children’s book, and now it has earned her two awards for a film created from the book.

“Corolla’s Sand Horse Beach: Croatoan’s Memoirs” is a story that illustrates a horse’s journey from Sand Horse Beach in North Carolina to Smithfield. Croatoan is a wild Corolla horse that narrates the story of his life.

The book is not only a children’s story but also explains the history and the legacy of the horses. The book has won multiple awards since she published it.

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“The book’s mission was to encourage children to do something now to help save the horses so they would be there for their great-grandchildren. I have had adults say that it has touched them,” Kerr said.

After a great response from fans of the book, Kerr made the decision to turn it into a film. She worked with two film students from Regent University. After filming, the group submitted the film to the EQUUS Film Festival.

“I was the executive producer and came up with the whole story. We submitted it in New York City in November 2017, and out of 80 entries, I won two awards. I won best wild horse short film and best student film,” Kerr said.

Kerr was motivated to write about the horses from her childhood and adult life. Kerr has always been interested in writing, and she has been a long-time owner of horses.

“As a child, I wanted to write a children’s book, and the timing seemed right. I owned mustangs in Smithfield and some half Corolla,” Kerr said. “In Smithfield, we have an offsite breeding program for rescued ones. Plus, they do breeding in Smithfield — in case of hurricane, disease and fire, the bloodline will be drawn.”

Kerr wants children and their parents to invest time and passion into helping save the Corolla horses, as they are starting to die out.

“They are on the last maternal line left, and the traffic down there has gotten so bad close to the beach. The cars are dangerous,” Kerr said. “They are having babies born with defects, and they’ve introduced other horses to fix the genetic hurdle. They have got to wake up and do something fast.”

Kerr is currently a recreational therapist at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and her work with veterans has inspired her next children’s book.

The next book is titled “Corolla Sand Horse Beach: Edward Teach has PTSD,” and it follows the life of a horse who shows symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This book is geared towards educating kids about characteristics of PTSD and that people suffer from it. The book is to help heal families, and it comes across in a gentler way,” Kerr said.