BELLE SHORT

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About the film

The Story of Belle Gunness

Release Date: 2015


This film is based on the true story of the infamous female serial killer Belle Gunness. In the late 1800s, Gunness emigrated from a small town in Norway to the bustling city of Chicago. Following the death of her first husband, she moved with several of her foster children to a farm in La Porte, Indiana. Belle began reaching out to men across the Midwest through a series of help wanted ads in Scandinavian newspapers. Those who answered her ads were promised a bright future as a partner in her farm. They were also told to sell their belongings, bring only cash, and not tell anyone where they were going. Those who came were never seen again.

With this short film we will highlight the drama between Belle Gunness and her foster daughter Jennie Olsen. Jennie is becoming a distraction and liability if Belle's crimes continue. As a solution, Belle decides to send Jennie far away until Jennie recalls her memory of growing up on the farm and admits that she would rather stay. Trouble ensues as it becomes clear that Belle’s farmhand Emil Greening is deeply in love with Jennie. Now, Belle is left with a tough decision to determine the fate of her foster daughter, Jennie Olsen.


Cast

Crew

Born in La Porte, Indiana, Stephen Ruminski is an aspiring producer and director. At a young age Stephen discovered he had a passion for creating videos and telling stories, and ever since has been on path to becoming a filmmaker. He graduated from Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, Illinois where he studied film and film post-production. Over the last 5 years he has worked in the film, tv, and broadcast industries in a multitude of roles. Recently he has worked on 3 feature films as a digital imaging technician and assistant editor, and currently has another short film titled I Met You on the Radio in post-production.  In Late 2007, Stephen attended a Belle Gunness slideshow at the La Porte County Public Library presented by Bruce Johnson. Stephen and Bruce met shortly after and began the process of making the documentary The Gunness Mystery. It took them nearly two and a half years to complete, but was worth the effort having sold almost 1000 copies to date and taken them as far as Norway to screen it.
Born and raised in Metro Detroit, Rob moved to Chicago in his early 20's for an opportunity to work in commercial advertising. Beginning as an assistant, he quickly worked his way up the ranks and soon expanded from commercial productions to working on reality and scripted television where he was able to connect with executives to further his transition into feature films. With his passion and experience in all things film related Rob is excited to be able to introduce one of North America's deadliest serial killers whose story has flown under the radar for over a century!
Bruce Johnson is a native of La Porte, Indiana where he spent 40 years as a teacher at South Central Elementary School.  Bruce has been researching the Belle Gunness story for many years partly because of his interest in local history and his Scandinavian heritage. His hard work and research to prepare a slideshow about Belle, was the basis for the documentary The Gunness Mystery. He has become the go-to expert on Belle Gunness having hosted guests from Norway, England, and France who have visited La Porte also to research Belle. He has appeared in television documentaries in Norway and England. He is also the first La Portean to have visited the home of Gunness in Selbu, Norway.
A native to Hanna, a small town south of La Porte, Indiana, Matt is an aspiring writer currently working as a journalist. He is a graduate of Tribeca Flashpoint Academy in Chicago, Illinois where he studied film and screenwriting. Matt has been writing since a young age due to a love of story telling and has written many scripts, short stories, novellas, and novels. His most recent project is a short film currently in post-production titled I Met You on the Radio in which he both wrote and starred in. Alongside writing, Matt has also worked as both a director and an actor. Matt's knowledge of Belle Gunness began in the fourth grade when his teacher, Bruce Johnson, taught his class about the local murderer, causing a few restless nights to follow. Eventually, he would reunite with Johnson again years later after assisting Ruminski on The Gunness Mystery and beginning work on transitioning the real life story into a film property.
Ryan has been working in the film industry since 1993. He received his bachelor's degree in Film studies from Columbia College and his Masters in Digital Cinema from DePaul University. His career began with a role as 1st Assistant Director on the feature film, "A Piece of Eden." Subsequently, he moved to Dallas where he was 1st AD, line producer and 2nd unit director on independent films and also worked as a photographer/writer for the "Dallas Music Guide". He returned to Indiana and has been working as a Director, Producer and Director of Photography on many commercials, documentaries, music videos. He has also worked as an Adjunct Professor, teaching film / Video Production, directing, cinematography and film History. Ryan is also a La Porte native, but currently resides in Bloomington, IN.                      

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