"My work documents the complex ways that human beings struggle to affirm their dignity and integrity when political and historical circumstances conspire to negate them. My goal is not only to make art, but to use art to harness the power of the senses for the well-being of people, and to bring change."

Bruno shapes poetic meditations on political struggles with the aim of evoking felt response—and action. Having served as an international relief worker in Southeast Asia during the past twenty years, she understands what it means to be a witness as both an activist and an artist.

Whether focusing on the experiences of incarcerated Tibetan Buddhist nuns, on young prostitutes along the Thai-Burmese border, or on a Cambodia destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, Bruno draws upon experimental and documentary techniques, (non-linear narrative, slow motion, repetition of key images, interviews and re-enactments), in the service of searing, non-literal testimony.
  “The greatest danger is believing there is a right way to make a film. Don’t get lost in imagining what a viewer wants to see. Look back at yourself. Pay close attention to your own experience. What is alive when you look through the viewfinder? What moves in you to put this sound with that image? Trust that alone. And always move in the direction of fear. The deepest truth is not far behind fear. Feel no need to justify your choices with language. This process is beyond language...in a more intuitive, complex place.”

  Born 1957, Bristol, Rhode Island
Lives in San Francisco

1990 M.A., Documentary Film, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
1979 B.A., Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

  1998 Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma
  1995 Blessed
  1993 Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy
  1990 Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia
  1987 No Fairy Tale
  1986 Maime
  1984 House of the Spirit: Perspectives on Cambodian Health Care

  1998 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
  1997 Rockefeller Fellowship for Intercultural Film
  1996 Goldie Award, Outstanding Local Artist, San Francisco
  1995 Shenkin Fellowship, Yale School of Art
94, 97
Western States Regional Media Arts Fellowship

  Special Jury Award Sundance Film Festival
  Golden Spire Award San Francisco Film Festival
  Grand Prize Religion Today Festival, Trento, Italy
  Best of Festival National Educational Film Festival
  Jury Award Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany
  Best Documentary Silence Elles Tournent, Canada
  Silver Award St. Petersburg Film Festival, Russia
  Crystal Heart Award Heartland Film Festival
  Edward R. Murrow Award American Film and Video Festival
  Best Documentary Focus Awards
  Student Academy Award Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  Student Emmy Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
  Ashai Shinbu Award Hiroshima International Film Festival, Japan

  2001 National Endowment for the Arts
96, 93
Paul Robeson Fund
  1998 Rockefeller Foundation
  1997 Soros Documentary Fund
National Asian American Telecommunications Association