Indie Filmmaker Fulfils Lifelong Dream – ‘Penitent’ new film from Brian Stynes

penitent film hard bargain productions


How many of us wish our hobby could also be our full-time job? It’s the dream, isn’t it? And the world is filled with dreamers like this, all aspiring to leave a mark, no matter how small, somewhere along their way in life. Dreamers and artists struggle to keep that ambition alive in the face of a reality where unemployment sits at 6.4% and a general air of political uncertainty seems like a never ending fog. The dreamer has bills to pay; families to support and responsibilities that seem far more important. It’s a sad truth that many of us have or will face in our lifetimes.

However, one local filmmaker has shown that maybe it doesn’t take an ideal world to make our dreams come true, and that a positive outlook and a solid work ethic can see us through the darkest of personal doubts. His name is Brian Stynes, an IT technical support worker on week days; an accomplished filmmaker by the weekend and a storyteller all year around. With his latest feature film – Penitent – hitting festivals the world over, Brian describes his own struggle as an artist, his unquenchable desire to tell stories and, most importantly, using his voice to inspire hope and reflect the world around him.

“I’d always wanted to tell stories. It might not have always been through films, but I was always writing what I saw and what I knew from what was around me.” Stynes admits as he candidly confesses that “My films are never going to be what I planned and that’s the beauty of it. It’s not easy; it’s a constant obstacle of no money and at times self-doubt, but you have to remember why you’re doing it and why you fell in love with it in the beginning. I live for the spontaneity and unpredictability of the filmmaking and it gets me through the week knowing that I can make something that, in the end, might matter to at least one person somewhere in the world.” With Penitent, Stynes has taken the leap to something bigger in his career – a feature film which follows a man wracked with guilt facing the reality of his crime against the backdrop of socio-economic hardship “We worked every other weekend for over a year to get it [Penitent] produced. It wasn’t perfect, but no shoot ever is. We reminded ourselves every day that we were working on a story which needed to be told and I think that keep us focused to the end.” Stynes’ modesty side steps any notion of fame or acclaim, it’s something more personal and satisfying to him that his movies can make a difference in a small, but more meaningful way, arguing the importance of independent filmmaking in our current time “Now more than ever we need stories that are going to make people believe thing get better or at least that you’re not alone. To me that is the solely purpose of cinema is to hold up a mirror to what we largely ignore. The filmmakers that I love like Ken Loach and Mike Leigh never flinch in their honesty and never forgot that objective in their work.”

“You see a lot of people struggling around the city and you realise that it’s largely ignored and that it only takes the smallest of encounters or observations to realize you’ve scratched the surface something much greater that needs to be voiced. I think it’s my responsibility to remind people that they are not alone in their struggle.” Speaking to Stynes, it’s immediately apparent that his commitment to his work and his admirable working class outlook is something we rarely glimpse at in artists today. He’s a man of humble origins and considerable principle. Penitent is currently on a festival run and will hopefully be screened at a festival near you.

Watch Trailer below

Trailer for Penitent (c) 2017 Hard Bargain Pictures from Brian Stynes on Vimeo.

Visit: Hard Bargain Productions 




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