Project UnLonely Films Season 7

A Ghost Story

Melissa Bruning

A World War II veteran on his deathbed tells a hospice worker about his ghost.

Consider This

Watch this video to explore the film’s meaning and major themes a bit more. Talking with others about a shared arts experience can enrich our perspectives. Share your thoughts in the comment section, below!

Meet the Filmmaker

What is their why?

Melissa Bruning is a writer-director residing in sunny Los Angeles. She recently completed her second short film, A Ghost Story, starring Derek Cecil, Ed Begley Jr., and Adrienne Wells. Currently, it has shown at the LA International Shorts Film Festival, San Diego Film Festival, California Women’s Film Festival, Santa Fe Film Festival, and Oregon Short Film Festival, among others. At the Hollywood Reel Film Festival, Ed Begley Jr. was nominated as Best Actor in a Short Film. A Girl and A Gun, Melissa’s first short, hit the festival circuit in 2009 and played at several festivals across the country. It won Most Original Short Film at the Portland’s Women’s Film Festival. Her screenplay, American Gothic, won the Best Thriller Screenplay Award at the Gotham Screen Film Festival in 2008. Spending most of her career working as a costume designer, Melissa has a strong relationship with many talented directors. Her designs can be seen in the films: Space Jam: A New Legacy, War and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Wild, Rampage, Love Ranch, Showtime’s Black Monday, Amazon FreeVee’s Bosch Legacy, and many others.

“Sometimes stories find you, stick in your head, and roll around in your thoughts until you give them life. ‘A Ghost Story’ is that for me. It was New Year’s Eve 2020, a night my family would have usually been with friends celebrating, but it was no longer safe. I was in bed reading around midnight, and I stumbled upon this story. I could visualize it as I read it, but the comments below it are what really hit me. A familiar song, a message in a letter, a strange bird, a vision from the past in the hall, all parts of the transition from life to death and after. Why don’t we talk about these stories more often? The people in the comments seemed to be searching for someone to listen. While filming ‘A Ghost Story’, my stepdad passed. It was unexpected, hard and took the breath out of me. Art imitates life, and life imitates art. After sitting in hospice with him and connecting with all nurses and therapists, it gave me a greater depth of understanding for the rest of the filming. Charlie needed Peter to talk to as much as he needed his ghost to guide him. I feel it’s important for us to know ‘we’re all connected’ as Charlie says and to embrace the unknown.”

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Join The Conversation

What ghosts do you have in your life? How have you found resolution and closure around your losses? What could have made it easier?

1 Comment

  1. Abby

    About a year and a half after my mother died, I was going through a divorce and was living alone for the first time. I woke in the middle of the night hearing a sound in my home. I was not sure what the sound was from and looked around. I was terrified and then had a sense of my mother. At first, I was not sure what I was feeling or hearing. About 10 minutes after I heard the sound, a knock came on my door (it was about 1:30 a.m.) and it was a dear friend of mine. My friend had walked 3 miles because she had a sense that I was in danger or troubled. The person was someone who had almost died in a car accident several years earlier.

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