7 Kisses is a new experimental movie from Running Wild Films.

This was a passion project directed by myself, shot by Jared Kovacs and featuring actors Frank Prell and Lauren Alonzo.

You can watch the film here on Vimeo.

Here are 7 reasons I decided to make this film.

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1. Therapy

I don’t see a therapist or psychiatrist and have no interest in doing so. Film, however, is on occasion a therapeutic way to get out what I’m thinking or feeling. The idea for 7 Kisses came from the desire to both explore and exorcise the various emotions from two trying and disastrous relationships. I wanted to create a cathartic effect, not just for myself, but maybe others who can watch this and go through the intense stages of a relationship coming together and falling apart.

2. Exploration

Recently it felt that we were falling in a pattern of making very traditional types of movies. Now there’s nothing wrong with that. But I think it’s good to switch things up here and there and it felt like the right time to do something different. Basically, this was a breath of fresh air. It was free of the constraints and pressures of a regular shoot, the concepts and rules of narrative filmmaking, and allowed to become something new.

3. Raw Performances

I also felt that the acting in our films just wasn’t reaching a “raw” level. This to me means that there was still some protective surface on each performance preventing the actor from being true. The irony of acting is that when it’s good you’re really just being yourself on screen. I wanted to try to strip bare all of the artifice of performance and reach something raw within these people on screen. I don’t know if we got there but we tried.

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4. Emotional Landscapes

Before filming began, I explained to the actors that they were not to think of these locations or situations in realistic terms: they were in what I called emotional landscapes. What I meant by this is that these 7 locations I picked were not meant to reflect any literal moment in the relationship. Yes, some of these places connect directly or in an abstract way to my past romances but I wanted the actors to think of these as the landscapes inside them. The water at the beginning shouldn’t be felt literally but emotionally, just as the traffic at the end. It was very difficult for the actors to grasp this and work within it.

5. Freedom from Writing

Behind most films there is a screenplay. Though the writing process interests me it also is frustrating. Cinema doesn’t need to come from the page! I wanted to make a film, for the first time in a long time, that came from no written material: just the heart, the mind, the gut.

6. Accidental Editing

At first I did not want to edit this material but the more I considered the project, it became clear this was the right decision. But how could I do so without constructing it in some preconceived idea of what we had shot? I wanted Jared (our cinematographer) to be free on set without restrictions, as well as the actors, and that is also what I wanted in the editing room. So I cut the movie with as little structure as possible, simply grabbing moments I liked, dumping them into a sequence, lining each up after the other, throwing music in below it and done. There was no concern for continuity or if the footage even flowed. I would call this accidental editing.

7. Why the Hell not

The most important reason to make movies if you’re a filmmaker is that you should make them as often as you can with or without reason.

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-Travis Mills