Articles

The Making of Global Cinema Online: An Achievement to Be Proud Of

By Oladapo Bamidele for IndieActivity Magazine

Victoria Heath_indieactivity
Photo by Victoria Heath from Unsplash

In my long life, I have been privileged and lucky to reach several achievements: some of my performances and movies got important awards and I had the chance to work often with excellent colleagues and artists. What I did in the film industry gave me great satisfaction; most of it was regarding the writing of screenplays, the making of films, and film companies. Now, in this very bad period of the pandemic, a time when it is almost impossible to produce films and have a normal working activity, I’ve been very lucky again for achieving something that, just a short time ago, was highly improbable: I am talking about Global Cinema Online, an OTT (Over The Top) media streaming channel that, for the first time changes ways and terms used in the film industry and gives some new and necessary choices to viewers and filmmakers everywhere.

Before analyzing certain aspects of Global Cinema Online, I wish to point out that my role in the making of this OTT streaming channel for films was a small one, in the same way, that my role in creating the Global Nonviolent Film Festival – the most important and renown nonviolent film festival in the world – was a small one too: it is true that Daria Trifu and I had the idea to create the Festival and the Global Cinema Online streaming channel, but Daria is the real creator and operator of both these two divisions of our company.

Global Cinema Online Logo_indieactivity
Global Cinema Online Goes Live! Make History in Video Streaming Services

I’m the chairman of Global Film Studio and Daria is the president of the company. My principal jobs are deciding what products we put in production and the actors we contract with our Agency, as well as arranging the financing for the company. Besides that, I write most of the screenplays and I direct most of the films we make. Daria’s job is taking care of all that is necessary from the administrative point of view to run the company. She produces and executive produces most of our film products, designs, writes (most of the content), creates and publishes the annual arts, entertainment, and business magazine DARIA! (Established in 2005), runs the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, and now runs Global Cinema Online, this new OTT streaming pay-per-view channel for nonviolent films.

Since the Covid time started – in March of last year – and until today, I worked in film financing and in preparing our next productions; Daria worked on the making of Global Cinema Online, we both worked on DARIA! magazine, and on organizing and hosting the festival that will celebrate its 10th annual edition from September 23 to October 3 this year. In this period, I was privileged to be able to follow, day by day, Daria’s difficult work in making the streaming channel, and to consult her on a continuous basis about the choices and decisions that were essential in bringing Global Cinema Online to reality.

Global Cinema Online is user-friendly and the films are organized by continent: European Cinema, North American Cinema, Asian Cinema, South American Cinema, African Cinema, and Australian Cinema.

“I’m proud to announce that, on April 15, Global Cinema Online goes LIVE


For the first time in the history of the world’s film industry, two facts become a reality:

  • It is common knowledge that many people, especially in Canada and in Europe, are viewing less and less films because the catalogs of the existing streaming services contain many films with gratuitous violence, low-quality films, and films that don’t provoke thought but just empty entertainment. Starting on April 15, English-speaking viewers in all corners of the world will be able – for the first time – to choose films, documentaries, animation films, docudramas, TV series, music videos, and films made by women from a catalog of high-quality nonviolent products. As a matter of fact, these films were previously selected at the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, they don’t contain gratuitous violence, and they have the quality and topical importance required at our Festival;
  • From now on, every film that will be selected at the Global Nonviolent Film Festival will be proposed worldwide distribution with very favorable financial terms through our streaming pay-per-view channel Global Cinema Online.

I’m proud of the little role I played in making Global Cinema Online a reality, and we all should be very grateful to Daria Trifu for this achievement because the two facts above are game-changers.

The first fact betters the experience of the intelligent viewers who wish to see films that give them something from an emotional point of view, or that give them possibilities to know more and to open their mental horizon.

The films shown on Global Cinema Online may have acts of violence if they are essential to the plot. What we are against is the gratuitous violence in film, not because we believe that everybody who watches a violent film will commit some act of violence in real life, but we have to think that, when a violent film is seen by a multitude of people, there can be some individuals who are particularly influenceable and already on the edge. It is a known fact that, when a big TV Network airs a film about suicide, the number of real suicides increases. The same of what we think about violence we think about sensuality and scenes with sexual content. The films shown on Global Cinema Online can contain sensual scenes and can deal with a subject on the edge, but every scene in the film, every visual part should be necessary to the plot, nothing should be there for commercial purposes only.

The second fact is extremely new in the industry and a big help for filmmakers; it makes it more simple for filmmakers to become universally recognized and financially independent. If their film is selected at our Festival – the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, it will receive a non-exclusive and profitable proposal of worldwide distribution through Global Cinema Online.

I believe that Global Cinema Online is on the right path in the present time. The channel will be born in few days and it will grow in time because it gives something that the viewers want. There are older and very big streaming channels like Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Amazon out there, but they don’t exclude violence, as we do. I believe that a lot of people will love the movies we show and a lot of viewers will watch our films. I’m proud of this; even if my role in the making of Global Cinema Online was small, I believe that the fact that I cooperated in bringing it live is one of the biggest achievements of my life.


Bruno Pischiutta is one of the last great Italian directors of his generation and the only one who has lived in America for almost forty years. During his film career, he created and developed numerous feature films in Europe, America, Africa and Asia, and won major awards in several countries. In China, he wrote and developed the feature film The Sepia Portrait, and in Ghana, he completed the feature film Punctured Hope that the Hollywood Political Film Society proposed for nomination at the 2010 Academy Awards®. He is the artistic consultant of the Global Nonviolent Film Festival, that he founded in 2011 with Daria Trifu.

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TRIBECA Film Institute: Bruno Pischiutta

Bruno Pischiutta in ‘Ultimo incontro a Venezia’ (Last Encounter in Venice) 1980

Reframe Spotlight: The Films of Bruno Pischiutta

Following a brief acting career in the ‘70s, which included an uncredited role in Billy Wilder’s Avanti!, and a supporting role in Francesco Rosi’s Many Wars Ago that garnered him the Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor at the Venice Film Festival in 1972, Bruno Pischiutta found his true calling as a filmmaker in his native Italy and has since become an internationally acclaimed writer, director and producer who’s known for his political and social conscious films.

Over at the Reframe Collection we have two of Maestro Pischiutta’s most praised films, The Comoedia and Last Encounter In Venice.

In Last Encounter in Venice (1980), Pischiutta plays a heavy drinking writer who travels to Venice to spend his final days; while The Comoedia (1982) put him on the map as a director as Pischiutta gives a modern retelling of Dante’s Divine Comedy. 

Also available on Reframe is a 24-minute documentary on the career of Pischiutta, Bruno Pischiutta Film Director.

To read more about Bruno Pischiutta, please click: TRIBECA

“My only luxury is the possibility I have to choose the people I work with”, Bruno Pischiutta

Indieactivity MagazinePublished on March 25, 2018 by Dapo in Featured, News

In a candid interview with Film Author Bruno Pischiutta, Olga Matsyna unveils the many facets of a career that spans five decades.

I spent the last six months researching and reading about Bruno Pischiutta to the full extent of what was available online.

Bruno Pischiutta

His body of work is impressive. When he was only 19 years of age he received the Critics Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ at the Venice Film Festival for his performance in Many Wars Ago directed by Francesco Rosi and, soon thereafter, he became a personality in the Political Theatre in Italy with Nobel Prize Winner Dario Fo.

He later wrote and directed his critically acclaimed feature film The Comoedia that went on to receive the ‘Bronze Medal’ at the New York International Film and Television Festival in 1981. These are just a few highlights from his time in Italy, his native country, before he moved to North America in the early 80s.

(Video) Bruno Pischiutta performing in "Many Wars Ago" (Uomini contro) alongside Alain Cuny

In North America he opened his own film companies. He wrote and produced commercials, TV series, feature films and documentaries and he trained dozens of film actors, directors, producers and screenplay writers as part of his International Film Workshops program. Much of this I came to learn through research but a lot more was to be discovered.

Filming PUNCTURED HOPE in Ghana

I found that his movies participated and were awarded at world film festivals and, in 2009, Pischiutta’s latest feature film Punctured Hope: A Story about Trokosi and the Young Girls’ Slavery in Today’s West Africa, was screened in theaters in Los Angeles for three months during the Awards’ season and was subsequently qualified for nomination consideration at the Academy Awards®. He was proposed for nomination by The Political Film Society (Hollywood) alongside James Cameron, Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino, for directing Punctured Hope, in two categories: ‘Best Film Expose’ and ‘Best Film on Human Rights’.

(Video) "Punctured Hope" - Selected scenes & Interview with Bruno Pischiutta

Through my research, I also found that his work is multinational.

On the set in Africa

In the late 90s he spent a lot of time in China where he developed one of his upcoming films. In Africa, he filmed Punctured Hope and taught his International Film Workshops to local talents who went on to achieve international careers. In Romania, he produced two documentaries and founded, together with Film Producer Daria Trifu, the Global Nonviolent Film Festival that has grown to become the most important and renown nonviolent film festival in the world. In Cuba, he was the Guest of Honor of Plenipotentiary Romanian Ambassador to Havana Dr. Dumitru Preda and he developed one feature film that he will direct and produce with his company, Global Film Studio.

When I started studying Bruno Pischiutta’s life and career, I never thought that I would arrive to meet him. I contacted his office to request an interview and I was invited to conduct one face-to-face with him in Greece. Before I knew it, my trip from Rome was organized, and I arrive in a little sea-side resort village close to Thessaloniki and minutes from Mount Olympus.

We met on a sunny day at an open-air cafe on the beach and I was a bit nervous, to say the least, but he put me at ease asking about my trip and if my accommodation was in order.

“Everything’s perfect” I say. Before I can continue, he calls out “Monica, Nerotto… venite qua!”, and here come two dogs he introduces to me as “my dogs”. He explains that they are stray and part of about 10/20 very educated pets that live in the village and that everybody in the community is equally in charge of feeding and caring for them.

I sit there and listen to him talk with them in Italian, I feel the warmth and kindness of his voice and the cafe, full of patrons, becomes a familial living room where I feel comfortable to commence my interview. I offer that we speak in the Italian language but he denies saying that “English is the language of film”. So, we begin.

Olga Matsyna: You shot your last feature film several years ago. Why is there such a long period of time without shootings?

Bruno Pischiutta: I’m a film author, not just a film director. I normally write a movie, I produce, direct, edit and bring it to the release first, and to the international market later. To do all this for one movie, it requires a lot of time. I also have other responsibilities in my Group of companies and I’m involved in their activities, besides making movies.

In these last years, I took care of the European office of our company, I shot two documentaries and I wrote several screenplays that now constitute the actual production slate of Global Film Studio.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

A: The production slate is composed of ten feature films and ten related documentaries. I’m working on the first two feature films that we will shoot next. They are entitled The Bad Joke and Sins and Sinners.

Q: What are these films about?

Actress Taylor Williams

A: The Bad Joke is a dramatic feature film that illustrates the unhappy circumstances in which many European teenagers find themselves. Parents, in many cases, go to work in other countries and leave their young children without any parental guidance at home. The family crisis that is generated contributes to the uncertainty and negative well being in the lives of the teenagers. This new situation exposes them to temptations such as alcohol, drugs, prostitution and similar non-solutions, to solve the problems they face, which they didn’t create.

The Bad Joke is a fruit of fiction, it is a non graphic feature film that portrays some situations in which many adolescents and teenagers live in as a result of the creation of the European Union.

Actress Moon Ming

Sins and Sinners is about prescription drugs used to beat depression. Americans, too often, try to solve all the problems with pills.

In the USA and worldwide, a big number of people are using and abusing antidepressant prescription drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft and others, in order to cope with the pressures of life. Sometimes, such drugs become an essential element of everyday existence, but at a too high cost.

Q: What is different about being in the director’s chair with this first project, The Bad Joke?

A: Most of the film characters are teenagers and they can only be played by teenage actors. From a director’s point of view, this film can be a great success or a suicidal mission. The proverb says: “If you don’t risk, you don’t drink champagne…”.

The challenge here is to find the right teenage actors and to be able to elevate their acting to an international standard. It is similar to what Dennis Hopper went through when, with small funds, he produced Easy Ryder. His financial situation forced him to hire a lot of actors who never did anything relevant in film before. He was great; this movie is what started the film careers of Jack Nicholson, Nicholas Cage and many others. I hope that I will be able to do the same with The Bad Joke. Basically, it is about being able to transform teenage actors into teenage Stars.

Q: Which actors stand out and why are they perfect for the role?

A: The cast of my next films is not decided yet and I don’t like to comment or to give names at this point in time. I will, of course, try to give the major roles to the few actors that I am mentoring right now.

Q: Your company runs Global Film Actors Agency and you are the Executive in Charge of this Division. Do you mentor every actor in your Agency?

A: No. I would like every actor to have a proper guide but, at my age, my time and my energy are limited. So, I mentor only very few young actors, the ones I really believe that have the possibility to reach stardom.

A similar situation is with possible film investors.

Many years ago, I would have discussed with, and educated anybody who had approached me with the possibility of investing in my films. I cannot do this today. Now, I only talk with investors who qualify themselves. My conversation with them starts with this question: “How much can you put right now?”. If the answer is clear and satisfactory, the conversation can proceed, if not, it is the end of it.

Q: Money is very important in film production. Are you sure that your attitude is the right one?

A: Clint Eastwood once said to investors, “if you want a guarantee, buy a toaster” or something like that. Michael Douglas once said that “money is the most stupid and easy commodity in the film business”. They were both right.

Go to every city and look out of the window and you will see a lot of buildings. These buildings are worth millions and they are all owned by somebody. This gives you an idea of how many millionaires are out there. So, if I look out of the window in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Milan and see a lot of buildings I also see a lot of multimillion-dollar owners behind them. But, am I sure that in any of these cities exists, right now, the best screenplay of this year? Am I sure that in these cities exists the next Steven Spielberg or Marlon Brando? No, I am not. Exceptional talent is much more rare than money.

Q: What do you want from fellow actors?

A: Honesty in their acting. Honesty is an essential component of acting in film. You cannot cheat the viewers. The viewers are not film critics, maybe they don’t know why, but they immediately feel if there is honesty in the acting or not. I also want loyalty toward the production and toward the people who give the actor the possibility to act in a movie and become influential in the history of the world.

Q: You produced and directed films and documentaries. What makes a film and a documentary great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film or a documentary better for you?

A: Great and complicated question: I’ll try to give you the simplest answer possible, but we have to divide the question in two: films and documentaries. Let’s start with the documentaries.

The origin of a documentary is clearly the ‘document’ word. It should be a document that, instead of being written, is filmed.

Filming PUNCTURED HOPE in Africa

If a filmmaker chooses a very limited subject like, for example, if I do a documentary about my living room, I have the possibility and the time to fully examine what is in my living room and it is not difficult to make a film document telling people about what that room contains. Problems start when a filmmaker wants to film a document about something much bigger like, for example, if I want to make a documentary film about the hospitals’ situation in New York.

In this case, I have to base my work on real statistics and interviews. I have to know the data regarding millions of people. If I want to say bad things about the hospitals’ situation in New York it is very easy because I can interview 20/30 unhappy people, who had bad stories happening to them or to their family members while at New York hospitals. At the same time, if I want to speak very well about the hospitals, all I have to do is to interview 20/30 people with happy experiences who will tell me how the doctors saved their lives or the lives of their relatives. Finding these people, positive or negative, is very easy but, at this point, I will not have filmed a document but I would have just filmed a phony document, a propaganda film.

I hope I am clear.

About motion pictures, everything is totally different. In the movies I make, I want to underline reality and credibility of characters and situations. The film should be an emotional story that will inevitably influence the viewers, and will give them elements to improve their understanding of similar situations and of their own lifestyle.

Q: For you as a screenwriter,  what is the most important aspect of building a character?

A: Credibility.

Q: What is guiding you?

A: Philosophy.

Q: Philosophy…interesting. What are your choices?

A: I guess, Arthur Schopenhauer and Soren Kierkegaard. I was studying philosophy at the time when I became a film actor and filmmaker.

My first movies in Italy were purely existentially-based. In the promos, they were announced as “another bloody film of Bruno Pischiutta”.

On the set of LIFE’S CHARADE in Toronto with actors Kevin Conway and Josette Garramone

Later, my objective evolved into strictly social films with medical backgrounds. This is how the films The Comoedia about drugs, Life’s Charade about teenage suicide and Maybe about bulimia were born. After that, I basically left the medical background. From some years, I am writing nonviolent films that are 100% based on socially conscious themes.

Q: What are the top favourite projects that you have been involved in?

A: I never regret any project I was involved in because, as an author, when you make one, a lot of good things consequently happen. You come in contact with a lot of talented people and you always learn something. You cannot do a film about bulimia without learning a lot about eating disorders. Learning about different subjects is one of the best things that happens to a filmmaker and it constitutes his or her very unique culture.

Projects always brought me to different countries or continents. I learned a lot about different situations in China, Cuba, Africa and more.

Poster of the film THE COMOEDIA

Satisfaction, however, always comes when you show a film. For me, it was great to screen The Comoedia, originated by the greatest poem of Italian literature, at the Galleria Rizzoli on Fifth Avenue in New York City before a very select audience of top American intellectuals and film executives of that time.

(Video) Selected scenes from "The Comoedia"
PUNCTURED HOPE screening in Santa Monica

Another moment that I always remember with pleasure is when my film Punctured Hope was screened in Hollywood. I shot the film in the African Rain Forest and I brought it to Sunset Boulevard, in front of a very privileged Beverly Hills audience. The film was also screened at The Friars Club in New York and later in Santa

PUNCTURED HOPE screening at Eastman Kodak in LA.

Monica where I was pleasantly surprised that, by word-of-mouth alone, the audience was composed by leaders of the American Veterans’ Organization, who later joined me at home for a private conversation and debate. On that occasion I felt, first hand, the satisfaction of being able to report an African story about genital mutilation to Hollywood and to watch these viewers shed real tears because they knew nothing about it.

(Video) TV Special by 'Africa Journal' and Thomson Reuters about "Punctured Hope"

This is a great aspect of filmmaking. Going to a place, risking sometimes your own life, for the only reason of bringing home the picture. This is culture, this is information. There is nothing funny about it.

Q: There are only few of your movies available for public viewing and this surprises me. Is there a reason?

A: Yes, Olga. There is a reason and it may take a while to explain. Would you like another tea?

This is a very welcoming pause since I now realize that we’ve been recording for close to two hours. I accept his offer and we make a few minutes break to watch Monica and Nerotto play on the beach.

A: Oscar Wilde said: “The truth is rarely pure and never simple”. How right he is!

This is something that many young filmmakers should learn. Let’s take an example: the University of Toronto has 90,000 students, no mystery right? It is a great center of learning but it is not exactly this only. As a matter of fact 90,000 students have not only to study, but they also have to eat, dress and to live somewhere. There is, of course, a big number of businesses directly connected to the University and, due to the fact that these students are on holidays for a big part of the summer, these businesses become seasonal businesses. Furthermore all these young students require a security system, they are not all so good and some of them can make mistakes and commit crimes…

This is just a way to show you how something that looks simple, such as a University, is not so simple when you dissect its different components.

The same happens in the film business.

A film can be a work of art, can be an important moment of social communication and many other things but, if it is a proper professional feature film, it always has a business side attached. Young filmmakers want to show their film as soon as possible, they want to see what people think but there are ways that are right and ways that are wrong to release a movie. You can, for example, put every film on YouTube, everybody will see it, but the investors and the production company will not make a penny.

When you talk about professional filmmaking, you are also talking about a very important business. If you put a film on the internet, it will be stolen in one hour. If you release a film without the proper marketing operation, you will have a Box Office of 70 dollars and the film, business-wise, will be finished forever.

A professional filmmaker has the obligation, toward his investors and the production company, to make out of a film a viable business vehicle, or this may be the last film he will ever shoot. So, in the same way in which it is a right or wrong time to make a certain movie, there is always a right or a wrong time to commercially release a certain movie.

A good movie is a financial treasure and you definitely don’t want to waste its release. If the moment is not right or if the marketing capital is not available, it is better to wait and maybe release the movie one year later and make a financial success out of it. Now, it is clear that, to release a movie, the relevant factors are many: the producer is not always in control of all of them so, he will do the right thing at the right time only.

In conclusion, you can say that many of my films are available right now. Some are simply not available to the viewers yet. Everything will be released at the right time.

Q: In film production you deal with big amounts of money. Are you intimidated by this factor? How do you approach this subject?

A: The question is always “what are we doing?”. We can build a little shack or we can build something that will be there for centuries like the Milan Dome that is, by the way, not finished yet. Of course, the little shack will have a very little cost but it will give to the investors a very little revenue and for a very short span of time. If, on the contrary, you build something majestic that will stay there for centuries, the investors will realize a great profit and that profit will extend and be on-going for a very long time.

Film is a misleading word; it can mean very many things. You can make a very small film or a great motion picture that all the world will watch for generations, as it happened for Gone With The Wind, Star Wars and many others. If you are aware of this, the amount of money necessary will not intimidate you.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still in favor of very contained budgets, but I also want budgets that don’t limit my artistic ability in a major way. The slate of films that my company intends to produce in the next few years requires about $200 million. This year alone, we are looking to invest $30 million. Are these amounts very big? It always depends on what you are doing and what your targets are. It is better to look for $200 million and create a value of $800 million, than to look for $120 million and create a value of only $200 million. This is because investors and production companies profit in percentage. Every one of our films has a very precise budget and projections and if it requires too much money for certain investors it may be that those investors are not the right ones.

Q: As an entrepreneur, how do you see the people who work for you?

A: First of all, it is always my wish that my colleagues and my people are OK. I don’t believe that anybody is working for me, I believe that my colleagues and everybody involved in my business are just working with me.

I can give you two examples: Toronto-based Producer Elio Dell’Unto who is with me from 27 years, and Producer Daria Trifu, President of my company, who is with me from 18 years. These two people have been with me all this time because they like what we do and they like how we do it. This is one of the first things that is in my mind when I do business.

Q: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?

Sometimes, I like to take important pictures. I took the pictures of most of the posters for the Global Nonviolent Film Festival in the last seven years, and I love to photograph, when possible, my actors. When I take pictures of actors, I like to showcase not only the shape of their bodies, but principally their souls.

Another very important thing I do is to mentor certain young actors because I like to teach them every important thing they need to know before they enter the professional film business.

I do a lot of other things: I am the Artistic Consultant of Global Nonviolent Film Festival where I watch and evaluate over 100 films every year. I also take care of the administration of the four companies I am heading.

Q: Is there anything you would like to do that you have not done yet?

A: Yes, I would like to write a book about what I think of today’s world.

I am always ahead of my time. I think that in 1,000 years, people will look at our historical status and they will be very surprised: they will say “in 2018 they were still using money?” or “they still had several governments?”

I told you, Olga, before starting the interview, not to ask me questions about politics or religion because I will simply not reveal what I am thinking. This is the reason why I am not writing this book; it would be very controversial and, some parts of it, would probably be illegal.

Q: Did your life change in the course of the years?

A: Certainly, same as I believe it changes for everybody else.

Some time ago, I said to a young girl that I was old and she, very kindly, told me “you are not old, you are antique”. Antique is precious. I feel very good because now I have nothing to prove, and my experience and culture gives me a lot of freedom. I am not comparing myself to younger people. This is the formula: I compare myself only to people of my age and I don’t feel that I am the worst around. This is because, probably, during my life, I did something right.

Q: Do you live in luxury?

A: My only luxury is the possibility I have to choose the people I work with.

Q: Any special good or bad memories?

On the set filming MAYBE with actress Christina Macris in Toronto

Sure. In all these years, I was a victim of crime a few times. Ninety percent of the Box Office (180 million Italian Lire at that time) of my first movie was stolen in Rome by a friend of mine who was my employee. Later, in Los Angeles, 100% of the Box Office of my movie Maybe was stolen. I had 35mm rolls of the most important scene of one of my films stolen only to be delivered years later (by ‘no name’) to my lab in Toronto. Attempted blackmail by people I trusted… and more. Many examples of bad memories. These were bad things that, unfortunately, happen in our business frequently. I am, however, rich of good memories: every movie, every actor I worked with, many situations and learning experiences. They were all good and all worth it.

These were bad things that, unfortunately, happen in our business frequently. I am, however, rich of good memories: every movie, every actor I worked with, many situations and learning experiences. They were all good and all worth it.

Q: Anybody in particular you love or you hate?

A: I love most of the people I worked with. My best films are always a product of love. Hatred, on the contrary, is a concept very far from me. I don’t hate anybody, I never did, because I never wanted to fill myself with negative energy. Some people are better and some people are worse. When I look at bad people, the first things that come to my mind are all the reasons to excuse and forgive them for their wrongdoing.

Q: How is your life today?

A: I am here, in Greece, for the moment. From the balcony, very early in the  morning, I look East and I have the pleasure to see the sunrise on the Aegean Sea. In the afternoon, I look West, and I have the pleasure to see the sunset on Mount Olympus. When I walk, my dogs accompany me and I am happy. I have my work and I feel very privileged with everything else.

Q: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more?

A: My company has decided to launch a personal website for me. It’ll be my first website. The condition is that I will have full control over it and, therefore, will publish what I choose. Maybe I’ll write my own blogs, and definitely I’ll be able to receive and reply to direct messages. I think this will be the right place to ‘keep-up’ with me, as you put it.

As we shake hands and leave, I look West and witness the sunset beginning to form on the edge of Mount Olympus. He calls me, “Olga, you see?… that’s what I mean, a true privilege”. I look at him, walking home followed by Monica and Nerotto, as I make my way to my hotel.

What I am left with, from this beautiful experience of coming in direct contact with one great personality of our world today, is that more I know, more I want to know. Above all, I feel that, the best is still to come.

-THE END-

The making of “Punctured Hope: A Story about Trokosi & The Young Girls’ Slavery in Today’s West Africa”, a Bruno Pischiutta Film

Indieactivity MagazinePublished on April 18, 2018 by Michael Ford in Featured, Filmmaking

PUNCTURED HOPE is a story that takes place nowadays in Ghana, West Africa. It is inspired the by the real-life events of the film’s lead actress, Belinda Siamey. 

Actress Belinda Siamey (in bleu) in one of the scene from PUNCTURED HOPE

According to the TROKOSI customary practice, if someone commits a crime, traditional leaders order that a young virgin girl from that family be sent to the shrine as a form of atonement. The chief priest and his entourage then genitally mutilate and sexually abuse the girl.

Against all odds, the protagonist of the story escapes the shrine. As the film follows her life from the age of innocence to premature adulthood, the viewers get to see a beautiful showcase of the real and very animated African life in a typical village. 

The Chief Priest performing in PUNCTURED HOPE

PUNCTURED HOPE made history in Ghana: it was the first ‘celluloid’ (35 mm) film ever shot there, and it employed a full Ghanaian cast and 98% Ghanaian crew for a total of close to 200 people. The film was shot in a real African village. Bruno Pischiutta is the co-writer, director and editor of the picture. He produced the film together with Daria Trifu.

Film Director Bruno Pischiutta and Producer Daria Trifu on the set in Ghana

“We were preparing a film in America about the subject of how virginity is lost in our times. A pastor from Ghana wrote to us saying: ‘you don’t know what’s going on here. I wrote a script and I would like to make a movie.’ At the beginning we were very sceptical. Daria and I went to Ghana and we personally visited the shrines at our own risk. We saw a fourteen-year-old girl with three kids, we saw all kinds of terrible things. After the trip and the research, we decided to bring the story to the world. 

Actress Rasheeda, Co-writer Kingsley Obed (first & second on top) and Producer Daria Trifu (second on bottom row) are meeting the real Chief Priests of the Trokosi shrine they visited in Ghana. Director Bruno Pischiutta took the picture.

The script of the pastor was very good because it was based on the life of this girl, but it was not written in an acceptable style. After we decided to make the movie, I went back to the script, re-wrote some scenes and brought the whole thing to Hollywood standards”, explains Bruno Pischiutta. 

Actress Belinda Siamey plays herself in the leading role in PUNCTURED HOPE

Punctured Hope is a feature film that is inspired by a true story of slavery. The leading actress in the movie, Belinda Siamey, is actually in real life the person who inspired the movie. 

Actress Belinda Siamey

“When we did the casting, the director noticed this young girl in the middle of the crowd and he asked to meet her. When we met her, we found out that she was the one who inspired the entire movie so, he decided that she should play herself in the film. 

Actress Belinda Siamey, in costume, on the set of PUNCTURED HOPE.

It is a story about Trokosi, which means ‘wives of the Gods’. It is the biggest form of slavery against women that exists today in the world. It involves genital mutilation, sex abuse and it’s something that is going on, as we speak, in West Africa”, says Daria Trifu.

Director Bruno Pischiutta on the set.

“To make the film in Ghana, we had to be there for two months. We shot the film in 28 days. All along, until the close of the final day of shooting and shipment of the 35 mm negative rolls to Canada, we kept the subject of the film secret. Very few people knew what the film was really about because it could have put our crew and us physically in danger. When the film was completed, we did a press conference and revealed everything. The news was picked-up by Reuters and the government of Ghana published what we said at the press conference on their website. Then, they sent the police to the shrines and they closed 29 of them, but the phenomenon is so big that it will take generations to resolve”, remembers Pischiutta. 

Bruno Pischiutta directing a scene of PUNCTURED HOPE.

The influence that the fetishist priests have on the whole community comes from the general believe of the population in black magic. Pischiutta explains, “Our Canadian sound-man lost his photo camera one night. Some of the crew members thought that somebody stole it and they felt very offended. They wanted to bring the matter to the shrine, in front of the black magic Chief because that is how it is done there. People who go to university also do it. My Ghanaian assistant director and I were talking about black magic. He said: ‘there are some things about America that I don’t understand and I don’t believe. And there are some things about Africa that you don’t understand and you don’t believe.’ That is just a different point of view.”

Actresses Belinda Siamey and Frost Asiedu on the set of PUNCTURED HOPE.

The film also shows a beautiful side of this part of the continent. “We wanted to show the beauty of the village and the sophistication of the people. It’s not all negative. The image is beautiful Africa, beautiful people, and beautiful places with some problems and problems are everywhere,” continues Bruno.

The village where PUNCTURED HOPE was filmed in Ghana.
Daria Trifu with Fio, one of the 600 children living in the village where the film was shot.

“From the experience of living there for a couple of months, with the crew and the villagers, we saw so much happiness in the children, their smiles and their eyes. It was incredible,” adds Daria.

Scene from PUNCTURED HOPE.

“And another thing: every adult is in charge of parenting the children of the village. So if a child does something bad, any adult will tell them not to do that. The sense of community is big. These children have nothing but I’ve never seen so much smiling. They’re incredibly intelligent and they have a huge desire to learn,” concludes Bruno.

Bruno Pischiutta directing a scene of PUNCTURED HOPE in the rain forest.
Behind the scenes: PUNCTURED HOPE
Behind the scenes: PUNCTURED HOPE
Behind the scenes: PUNCTURED HOPE
Co-Writer Pastor Kingsley Sam Obed and Daria Trifu

The filmmakers want to point out that their company makes non-violent films that are usually based on social issues of our time. Although the subject of this film is so difficult, there are no graphic scenes, and no coarse language. The film is for children too, more sophisticated adults, for students, everyone really. And it is important because it is not only about the leading character who is victim of Trokosi, it’s also about the village. The life in the village is the second leading character.

A scene from PUNCTURED HOPE.

At the end of the film, the chief of the village explains that the government of Ghana cannot do anything about the practice even though it has been outlawed. “The government can decide something but then the local villages have their own laws. In the village the law is made by the ‘king’ of the village and a committee of four or five people. And they say: ‘who are you to say that something that has worked for our grandfathers and great-grandfathers for hundreds of years is not good?’. The fear that the fetish priests instill in the people is the moral agent against criminality. If the people think that they can rob, rape, kill and that the Gods will not punish them, then there can be a very different scenario. That is what the traditionalist people say. The debate is open. That is what we tried to show in the film, and then the viewers will make their own mind,” says Bruno Pischiutta.

Actresses Belinda Siamey and Frost Asiedu addressing the viewers in the last scene of the movie.

There is one more innovative element that the director used in the ending of the film. For the first time in a motion picture, the two lead actresses, in the end scene of the movie, turn their eye-line to the camera and, for close to four minutes, they address directly the viewers telling them of the real suffering and the plight of the women living under the practice of Trokosi. They call the viewers to action. This is the moment in which the film becomes television. This is a closing that Pischiutta envisioned for the film in order to create a personal contact between the characters of the movie and the world viewers, for a maximum effect in bringing the story and the reality of the situation to their attention.

Selected scenes from PUNCTURED HOPE and interview with Director Bruno Pischiutta on the set of the film in Africa:

Scene from the movie: actresses performing young girls in the shrine.

“The US $5.8M budget is a respectable one for an independent production but, raising the financing wasn’t easy. In the beginning, we tried to raise it from institutional investors, but time was running out and we knew that we had to do something faster and on our own. We could not risk that the word went out in the local community before us being able to make the film, because this would have obstacle the entire production. So, with the help of two private investors and our own participation, we financed the film and rushed to production”, remembers Daria Trifu.

Bruno Pischiutta and Daria Trifu at the premiere of PUNCTURED HOPE at the Montreal World Film Festival.

“Our strategy, from the get-go, was to bring the story to light and spread awareness about the modern-day women slavery under the practice of Trokosi, as well as the outrageous number of young virgin girls who are victims of genital mutilation around the world”, says Trifu. To achieve this, the director and producer knew that they had to bring the film to the attention of Hollywood and the main stream media. Until now, PUNCTURED HOPE was an Official Selection at the Montreal World Film Festival and it was screened in theaters in Los Angeles (limited release) where it was qualified for Nomination Consideration at the Academy Awards. For directing the film, Bruno Pischiutta was proposed for nomination by The Political Film Society (Hollywood) alongside Clint Eastwood, James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino; the categories for which the film was proposed for were “Best Film Exposé” and “Best Film on Human Rights”.

Screening of PUNCTURED HOPE in Los Angeles.

After picking-up the story in Ghana at the completion of the film, Reuters went on to follow the filmmakers to Los Angeles and interview them during the film’s cinema premiere on Sunset Boulevard. They went thus far to send a camera crew to Ghana where they also interviewed one of the film’s actresses and they produced a news segment for Africa Journal TV.

Screening of PUNCTURED HOPE in Los Angeles.

Reuters news segment, for Africa Journal TV, filmed in Ghana:

Scene from PUNCTURED HOPE.

The film will be released commercially by Global Film Studio (www.globalfilmstudio.com), although a date is not set yet. “We hope that influential people in America and beyond can push on the international organisations to pressure local governments to end this slavery. We want to let the world know the terrifying numbers at which this phenomenon occurs. Right now we are talking about 25,000 slaves in the shrines and 130 million women genitally mutilated in the world”, concludes Pischiutta.

“I have dedicated this film in memory of my mother, Lina Maria Gardi-Pischiutta”. – Bruno Pischiutta

-THE END-

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