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MAY 11-17

7 Questions with Gerry Bruno, the director of Seven Souls

1. Are you an Arkansas Native? If so where are you from? If not, How did you get here?
No. I’ve been in Arkansas for about 2 ½ years. I was born in Italy but grew up in New Jersey where I was running a commercial production company. I never set out to do commercials but the opportunity was there and in this business you can’t pass on opportunities. After 13 years though, my wife and I tired on the East Coast and started looking for a place where we could slow down. Arkansas was not originally on our radar but after visiting my father-in-law, who had been here about 5 years, we thought it was beautiful. We were so pleasantly surprised to find a vibrant arts community and so many talented people looking to collaborate.

2. What is the inspiration for your film?
The inspiration for “Seven Souls” came from the idea I had about Death falling in love with a mortal person. That idea has been done so we took it a step further by asking the question, “What happens when we die?” No one can really be sure what the afterlife is like, which makes this genre so interesting to explore.

3. Can you give us a brief synopsis of your film?
“Seven Souls” is an unconventional love story that follows Death, as he roams the earth repaying the debt every human being owes the world: to help seven souls cross over before he himself can rest. But Death cannot stand much more… especially when it comes to the seventh soul he’s asked to take.

4. What were the biggest challenges and successes you faced on set?
I think the biggest challenge in filming “Seven Souls” was conveying to the audience what Death is experiencing. We tried to shoot the film in a way that represents what HE sees and feels. What Death is doing is so painful and I wanted the audience to feel some of that. As for the biggest success… being able to work with such talented people who I truly enjoyed being around was a huge success for me. We’ve all heard the stories of egos and difficult personalities but I’m so happy to say we didn’t have any of that. When I go back and look at pictures from the day, I see collaboration, friendship, and laughter.

5. What is the festival strategy for your film?
Our festival strategy for “Seven Souls” was originally to blast it into every festival we could. But that gets really expensive, so now we’ve targeted festivals that have a history of choosing offbeat, thought provoking films. Thing is though, no matter how you look at it, it’s always hit or miss. So many festivals are “fee mongers.” Just trying to get you to enter to get your entry fee. We’ve even heard stories about films not being watched which is so sad because filmmakers works so hard on their films. But we’ve been blessed to get into some really good festivals and win some awards. We took the gold at Worldfest Houston and won an Indiefest award.

6. Does your film have a Arkansas/Southern theme?
“Seven Souls” doesn’t have an Arkansas/Southern theme but everything was shot here and the entire cast and crew is from here.

7.  What changes have you seen in the local film community in the five years since the LRFF was launched?
Wow. Lots of changes. I’ve only been here for ½ of the 5 years the festival has been going on but Arkansas films are getting so much better. Part of that reason is that the filmmakers here are approachable and willing to help in anyway they can. I’ve shot stuff from coast to coast and have never experienced anything like it. I think the rest of the country hasn’t caught on to the fact that Arkansas is a fantastic place to shoot a film. Not only are there incredibly talented people here, but the locations are so diverse and within a short driving distance.

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