Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Meet Ellen Bruno, the Founder of Bruno Films

Ellen Bruno is the founder of Bruno Films who has produced many award winning documentary movies. In particular, her film, Sacrifice, deserves our attention as it exposes the child prostitution widespread on the border of Burma and Thailand.


About the movie:

The Sacrifice is a documentary movie based on the stories of a few Burmese girls caught up in the sex industry on the border of Thailand and Burma. Bruno shares that her intention is to bring viewers to recreate a state of mind in which information, impressions, memory and history have equal weight and are directed towards an emotional response.

Her Mission is to touch people in a visceral way and not overload people intellectually. True motivation, Bruno believes, comes from their hearts being touched. Bruno further states that her work is to stoke the fires a little.

On Her Inspiration:

Bruno once had a refugee from Thailand telling her stories of mundanely committed tragedies in developing countries in South Asia. Twenty years later, Bruno finds herself with a sense of calling to disclose such stories to westerners. Bruno added that film art is her way of sharing those stories with other Westerners to raise awareness in regard to what's happening in those countries.

The Challenges:

During the interview with the
filmarts, Bruno reveals her challenging experience with Thai law enforcement:

Bruno and her translator talked their way into a Thai brothel where, through a translation errors, they were given permission to shoot materials for the film with a small camcorder. Bruno was ecstatic that footage of the girls actual working conditions inside a brothel, which had eluded her for weeks that it was hers for the taking. Then the owner of the brothel woke up, realized what was going on and called the police. the police asked Bruno to erase the video footage she had recorded, then hauled her and her translator to the local jail when she refused. After six more hours of interrogation, Bruno decided that she was putting her translator into jeopardy, and she agreed to erase the tape.
Her Passion for Justice:

But Bruno persists to go back to troubled, potentially dangerous circumstances because of her passion for community based work. Her work is based on the kind of empathy and familiarity with her subject that comes with years of friendship and common work. She refuses to focus on the new age notion of oneness because it can too easily stand in for exoticism. Rather, her mission is to touch people in a visceral way and not overload people intellectually. She further says,

True motivation comes from their hearts being touched. Unless you have motivation, nothing will happen. My job is to stoke the fires a little.

More information on the film:

Sacrifice as well as other works of Ellen Bruno are distributed on video by film library. For more information call (800) 343-5540 or visit her website

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