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Film provides unique take on cinema

Senior Michael Bruner had a vision.

On Jan. 27, that vision came to fruition with the showing of his senior project, “Worth a Thousand.”

“Worth a Thousand” is the classic story about a man searching for meaning. He must learn to work through mistakes made early in his life in order to fill the void in his heart.

The film was artistic, completely without dialogue and made up entirely of mini-scenes, usually less than a minute in length. This montage style enriched the film, making “Worth a Thousand” an engaging experience.

Bruner drew his inspiration from those close to him, people who expressed regret for past actions, but because of them, turned out all the better. The story encourages the audience to think about not what could have been, but what is.

Bruner began the project as an intern last summer for Lin Pictures, a production house for Warner Bros. Lin Pictures is one of the production houses behind “Sherlock Holmes” and its recent sequel. Bruner worked as an assistant, doing everything from reading scripts and pitching story ideas to running errands and cooking lunch.

“Living and working in LA for the summer was not easy,” said Bruner. He and a former JBU student shared an apartment in Koreatown, in a neighborhood that was “not very safe.”

Work, too, was a challenge. “I had a lot of growing to do and was frustrated with myself on a daily basis,” Bruner said, but added, “While it was difficult, the experience [was] something I needed desperately.”

It was under these conditions that Bruner began to write the script of “Worth a Thousand.”

“I set out to tell a convincing story without a budget that would be able to compete cinematically and narratively to a professional film standard,” Bruner said.

The montage nature of the film led to difficulties making the story flow. Budget restrictions also made trouble as Bruner looked for convincing actors under tight restrictions. Production went throughout the fall semester, with one week of editing that Bruner described as having “numerous difficult but exciting challenges.”

Even so, both Bruner and his audience saw the film as a success. “This project is the best thing I have seen come out of my film projects at JBU.”

Bruner insists, however, that his success does not belong to him alone. “In total, over 80 individuals from actors to crew members came alongside me during this project,” he said.

Bruner had help from current and former students, staff and faculty, composers from Fayetteville and California, family and friends in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Austria and actors ranging in age from seven to 67.

After the filming, the editing, the publicity and the premier, Bruner is feeling good about his film. “In the process it was hectic and stressful, but after it was all over, the feeling…was so edifying.”