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The Background

The Oscar-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Jerry Maguire) makes his directorial debut with Lost Souls, a riveting, stylish horror story for our faith-embattled times. Using the supernatural backdrop of demonic possession and a gripping tone of psychological realism, the film explores the struggle between belief and disbelief - and unveils the story of a man and a woman fighting the seductive, devilish powers of hopelessness.

"Lost Souls gave me the opportunity to go beyond the standard confines of the supernatural thriller," explains Kaminski. "I was drawn to the project because it explores the nature of faith and spiritual crisis in our society, while still providing exhilarating thrills. I saw a chance to create an elegant, sophisticated and very scary movie.

Among the signs of possession are speaking in unknown languages, discerning distant or hidden things, displaying physical strength at odds with the possessed person's age or health . . . and a visceral aversion to God. -- from the Roman Catholic guide to Exorcism

As a visual artist, Kaminski has long been intrigued by the inner workings of human perception - how what we see isn't always what we believe and vice versa. So when it came time to direct his first film, Kaminski was drawn to the nuances of psychologically realistic horror, inspired by such gothic-tinged film classics as Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby. He knew he had the visceral talents to turn the ordinary events of life into the shadowy aberrations of uncertainty, anxiety and mortal fear. Beyond that, Kaminski was burning to tell a compelling tale.

"I think my success as a cinematographer came because I was always interested in telling a story, not just lighting people in a pretty way or creating a mood," notes Kaminski. "Directing just lets me go further with the story-telling."

Kaminski found a story he felt particularly worth telling in Pierce Gardner's dark, questioning, suspense-laden script. Gardner wrote Lost Souls in order to grapple with the notion of a world that is increasingly losing the foundations of faith - and the fidelity, loyalty and sense of hope that comes with it. Says Gardner: "I wanted to write about a woman of great faith who believes in something completely - something ostensibly preposterous but which in her mind is absolutely possible - and a man of no faith who doesn't believe in anything but develops such a deep respect for her commitment to her faith that he entrusts his life to her."

Adds co-writer and co-executive producer Betsy Stahl: "We were fascinated by the idea of someone of deep devotion who has to join hands with someone who is a complete skeptic - a man who in many ways represents the way most people are today."

When Kaminski became interested in the script, Ryan and Sadowsky felt he understood the underlying subtext: how in a society where God is increasingly difficult to find, it is far easier to see the work of the Devil. Then they seized upon an industry coup: the opportunity to offer the renowned cinematographer his first job as a director, as part of Prufrock's commitment to finding and supporting fresh directorial voices.

"We had a lot of interest in the script from directors but we knew Janusz could visually bring something very special to this movie," sta

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