By Lynn Venhaus
In his first feature film “Un-resolved,” Bruce Carlton Cunningham Jr. has created a gritty, sprawling tale of revenge not unlike a Shakespearean drama but set on the streets of St. Louis. He not only produced, but directed, wrote and stars as Tremaine in the ambitious project.
The story is about an ex-convict, just released from prison, who attempts to make up for the lost time with his youngest daughter, who is dying, and to reconnect with his oldest daughter, who has befriended a deadly enemy from his past.
The 2 hour and 47 minute film will screen at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, at the Brown Hall Auditorium of the Washington University campus, as part of the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase sponsored by Cinema St. Louis. Cunningham will be present, along with members of his cast and crew.
Bruce has been a prolific producer in St. Louis for the past 21 years. As an actor, writer and director, he has appeared in several short films, including “Ricky’s Hurt” (2016), “Retribution” (2015), “Static: A Fan Film” (2018), “Icon: A Fan Film” (2020), “Hardware: A Fan Film” (2021), a feature film, “A New Husband For Christmas” (2020) and a web series, “Gonzo” (2016).
He graciously answered our Take Ten Questions:
- What is special about your latest project?
This is my first feature film and I put a lot of work into it to make sure it was a compelling story. It was a long journey making this, but I am glad I completed it and didn’t give up.
- Why did you choose your profession/pursue the arts?
I started acting when I was nine years old. I would watch a lot of T.V. & movies rather than going outside to play or staying up late. I wanted to be a part of the onscreen action: car chases, jumping from buildings, flying through the air, living in different
worlds and being different characters. That sparked my desire to act and make movies.
- How would your friends describe you?
Humorous. Silly. Down to earth. No filters and no brakes. Focused. Loves to have a good time.
- How do you like to spend your spare time?
I like to read, watch movies, travel, workout, shoot guns, learn new things and spend time with friends and family.
- What is your current obsession?
Hmmmm, that may be private.
- What would people be surprised to find out about you?
I look younger than I am.
- Can you share one of your most defining moments in life?
Becoming a father was very defining because I have someone I have to pour into and be an example for. My daughter keeps me on my toes.
- Who do you admire most?
I admire my mother the most. I love her wisdom and her approach to life and situations.
- What is at the top of your bucket list?
I haven’t really thought about it. I’m still thinking about this one. Maybe act alongside Denzel Washington.
- How were you affected by the current pandemic years, and anything you would like to share about what got you through the pre-vaccine part, with shutdowns, and any lesson learned during the isolation periods?
I definitely did not like to see and hear of all of those people dying of COVID. It was a major change, I spent a lot of time by myself and I changed my perspective on a lot of things. On the bright side, I had more time to edit my film during the shut down and that
kept me busy.
- What is your favorite thing to do in St. Louis?
Take walks in the park.
- What’s next?
I just finished acting in other projects. Now, I am relaxing and trying to get “Un-resolved” out to the world. Pretty soon, I am going to start writing for the next film.
More About Bruce Carlton Cunningham Jr.
Current location: STL
Family: Single Father of one
Education: B.S. Video/Film Production & Minor in Theatre. M.S. Managing Information
Day job: Information Technology
First job: Hardee’s
First movie you were involved in or made: Retribution
Favorite jobs/roles/plays or work in your medium? So far, it is between the roles of Tremaine
(UN-RESOLVED) and George (UNDERNEATH)
Dream job/opportunity: I would like to do a full action film.
Awards/Honors/Achievements: None at the moment, but keep watching. When it comes to achievements, finishing my first film would be my latest achievement.
Favorite quote/words to live by: “If there is a door, then you have to kick it down. If there is no door, then create one and kick it down.”
A song that makes you happy: “Ali Bombaye”
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.