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Montana Film Office

Filmmakers-Shire Productions is accepting content for distribution and looking for original content, as well as staff.

As with any business transaction, review all contracts carefully, and do not hesitate to clarify terms.

You must do your own due diligence.

Disclaimer: The Montana Film Office presents connections to filmmakers, but does not

sponsor or endorse these connections.

ShireProduction Letter

Sales and Marketing Division

Job Description

We are looking for an energetic, self motivated and organized individual to join our dynamic sales team.  Responsibilities with include, but are not limited to:

  • Procuring funding for production projects
  • Retaining advertisers for Shire network
  • Selling subscriptions for Shire streaming network
  • Finding content for Shire network, affiliates and movie production


The position being offered is a non-exclusive independent contractor sales position. It is a commission based position and the following is an example of said compensation.

Sales staff compensation

  • Production Projects

2% upfront for total amount of budget procured by sales associate

Up to 60% of Net remaining budget balance

  • Advertisers

20% of gross Revenue from advertisement spots sold on the Shire Network

5% of cash value pertaining to product placement, sponsorship or barter transaction

  • Subscription Sales for Shire

$.50 for each $2.99 membership sold

$2.00 for each $5.99 membership sold

$4.00 for each $9.99 membership sold

  • Finding content and Projects for Shire Productions

Weekly show: 3% upfront of gross seasonal budget amount and 10% Net remaining budget balance paid per episode

Full length feature: 2% of gross budget and 25% of net remaining budget

Mini-series: 3% upfront of gross seasonal budget amount and 15% Net remaining budget balance paid per episode

Musical Content for Jukebox: 10% of monthly subscription sale price, paid per month


Projected / estimated amounts for advertising products

*3 month plan for once a day commercial on streaming channels (Prices increase based on time zone broadcast peak hours)


$1000 for 3 months (3:01am – 6:00am)

$3,600 for 3 months (6:01am – 9:00am)

$5,400 for 3 months (9:01am – 12:00pm)

$7,200 for 3 months (12:01pm – 6:00pm)

$9,000 for 3 months (6:01pm – 9:00pm)

$7,200 for 3 months (9:01pm – 12:00am)

$1,800 for 3 months (12:01am – 3:00am)


*Prices for product placement, sponsorships, seasonal series, or theatrical budget funding and/or single show sponsorship are subject to the terms of that agreement.


If interested in a sales position with Shire Productions please contact, Phil Walley (702) 292 – 5010, or Carl Carter (571) 215 – 9252,


SATURDAY, JULY 29          9AM-6PM

SUNDAY, JULY 30               9AM-6PM



 Holiday Inn Missoula, Downtown
200 S Pattee St, Missoula, MT 59802

Phone(406) 721-8550




Males  – Age range:  18-70’s   Looking for Cowboys, townspeople, ranch workers, livestock agents, ranchers, police, mourners

Females – 18-70’s  townspeople, ranch workers, mourners

Children – Male and Female – Age 6 – 18

Bring photo and resume if you have one.  NO EMAIL SUBMISSIONS

Be prepared to check in and wait, know your sizes for wardrobe inquiries.

This casting is looking for approximately 100 men, 50 women and 20 children.

Filming location is the lower Bitterroot Valley, and filming will happen between August 14 and Aug 29.

Background Actors needed (male and female) : Ages 15-65

Production Dates & Locations : August 6th, 7th, and 8th

$125/day + meals

Must be able to travel to Philipsburg, no mileage or hotel provided.

Please send email with dates available (either 6,7,8 or all 3) and photo

Jennie Saks, owner of NASS Talent Management, ALL FACES Model & Talent Agency, will be auditioning for another MT Anti Tobacco PSA TV /commercial shoot next week and  would love to submit new talent. If  you are interested and available for the casting and shoot dates, and you want her to submit and represent you for this project plus future projects please EMAIL current photos of yourself, 1 close up and 1 full body, along with your: date of birth/age, height, weight, location, phone and email. If you are under 18 yrs old, please include your parent’s name and contact information.

Specs:  male and females age 17-20  Punk / alternative types, Skater, Preppy, Athletic, etc.
Available dates needed for the shoot  (1 day during this time frame) August 15-16-17.
$500 per day per spot.

FYI This is a State of Montana Government project so a background check form will be needed from everyone who is hired.

The Casting will be July 20th in Bozeman.

Once we receive your information, we will contact you with script and audition details.

Jennie Saks
NASS Talent Management
All Faces Model & Talent Agency (CA, HI, MT)

In October, it will be 25 years since the release of the iconic film, which is based on a 1976 book about family and fly fishing on Montana’s Blackfoot River written by Norman Maclean, a University of Chicago literature professor who grew up in Missoula.
On the 25th anniversary of Montana’s most-iconic movie, experience A River Runs Through It on the giant screen at the Mansfield Theater, Friday, June 9. The free movie tickets are available at the Beer & Gear outdoor expo at the Great Falls Civic Center. Doors open for seating at 7 p.m. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.

On 06.10.2017 we have a need to film a group of about 150-200 Marine Corps & Navy Bikers (Leathernecks M.C. International) as they ride along Montana’s scenic back roads from Billings and then through Columbus and Red Lodge. We need cameras to be positioned in two separate locations, so in essence we will need two (skeleton) crews.

The footage itself will be shown on the National Site for LMCI, as well as in an upcoming (horror genre) film. Credit, Copy, and Lunch only. No monetary compensation, however the crew we use will be considered for the upcoming (paid) gig.


Casting director, Tina Buckingham, is looking for the following talent:

Main Roles:
Veronica: Female Military Vet, mid-30s, Divorced mom raising child alone, works at a diner to make ends meet, has
self-esteem issues
Jason: Male, early 40’s, Iraq War Vet turned Rancher, Expert Marksman who loves to hunt, but currently facing
financial difficulties on his ranch and struggles with depression.
Richard: 40-50 year-old Married Ranch Manager, Taciturn Cowboy-type. Has trouble asserting himself

Side Roles:
Diner Manager – Male 40s-50s
Bob: Male 20’s, ranch hand, irresponsible, keeps borrowing money from people.
Rird’s Bosscha: Male 55-65, Sunny, Successful “California type,” likes to come to his Montana ranch once a year to
fly fish.
Richard’s Wife: Female 40’s, traditional rancher’s wife, talkative who takes her husband for granted.

Diner customers and waitresses
Veronica’s Daughter

Please submit head shot & full body photos to me by May 29th —
Casting session will be held on May 31st and June 1st at the MSU Campus in Bozeman.
The Video shoot will occur between June 15th and June 24th.
Location will be in Bozeman / Belgrade / Livingston area



Shopping Mall – Synopsis

Three small town characters are inching toward their breaking points. This film explores their personal pain, suffering & madness which could bring all of them to kill as many as they can, at a local Shopping Mall in small town America.

Fifty people are dead and more injured. Three characters are present at the Mass Shooting: A Black Marine back from war, A lost and bullied Teenager and A trashy Redneck. Which one of them is mass murderer? The film follows the events in the lives of these characters just before the days of shooting.


NON-UNION, Paid  (SAG actors, refer to the Ultra Low Budget contract)


Casting for the following roles:

Tony: early 20’s, male, African American, tall, athletic

Dick: 50’s, male, white, out of shape

Aaron: teenager, male, white, tall, good looking, but awkward

Shawna: early 20s, female, white, tall, athletic

Frank: early 40’s, male, white, corporate upper management

Thao: early 30’s, female, asian, corporate middle manager

Cho: 40s, male, asian, poor english, lean

Marty: mid 20’s, male, white, tall, athletic

Vivian: mid 50’s, female, white, overweight

Kerry: mid 40’s, female, white, thin

Dr. Jordan: mid 40’s, male, white, tall and thin


EMAIL your Resume and Acting Samples at:


DIRECTOR: Raj Amit Kumar

Check his first film at:

Casting Director, Tina Buckingham is looking for the following talent:

Males 30’s 40’s 50’s Hunters, farmers, ranchers (rugged good looks)

Females 30’s & 40’s – outdoorsy


  • Comfortable spending all day outdoors rain or shine.
  • Comfortable on motorcycles, ATVs or off-road vehicles.
  • Comfortable on camera. Smile easily. Exude confidence. Follow direction.
  • Comfortable and Skilled at ad-libing outdoor tasks: building a fire, fishing, over-hauling transmissions, gardening, etc.
  • Comfortable operating a ATV at low speeds and have valid drivers license.

Please submit head shot & full body photos to me by Thursday May 4

Callbacks will be ​held ​at the end of May.

Shooting between June 8th and June 16th

Bozeman / Livingston locations


“BIG FORK” is currently looking to cast several roles in their upcoming feature film!

Story line: A group of friends reunite in Montana for a weekend wedding. The problem is, the

wrong people are getting married.

Actors should email me at if they would like to be considered,

and I will send sides/self-tape instructions to anyone who may be a fit for the roles outlined below.

This is a SAG Ultra Low Budget feature, so actors are paid $125/day.


[GREGG]24 to 29 years old, all ethnicities male. Introspective, kind, likable. He is the shy one of the

group, but with a little nudging from his gregarious buddies, he starts a committed romantic

relationship with his last-minute wedding date. ABILITY TO PLAY PIANO PREFERRED, BUT NOT



[SAM]22 to 27 years old, all ethnicities female. Sweet, flirtatious, spontaneous. She is working as a

waitress when she meets Gregg, and quickly agrees to be his overnight date to the wedding. PLEASE


[CAMILLA]18 to 25 years old, all ethnicities female. Sexy, intuitive, curious. She works as a stripper

and is in love with her client, James, even though he is engaged to someone else. There is no

nudity in this role, but the actress will be scantily clad and the role involves simulated intimacy. P



[RAVEN]18 to 30 years old, all ethnicities female. Casual, cool, inherently comedic. A female version

of Brad Pitt’s character in True Romance. PLEASE ONLY SUBMIT ACTORS WHO ARE LOCAL HIRES IN


[ANNIE]45 to 60 years old, Caucasian or Black/African American, female. Nurturing, understanding,

maternal. She is Emily’s mother, getting ready to celebrate her daughter’s wedding day. PLEASE ONLY



Brittani Ward, Casting Director

office: 323.468.8899

cell: 815.715.6925

Will Green, a Film Student at MSU Bozeman, is seeking one male actor, preferably

early to mid thirties. Rehersal will be on Sunday, April 23rd, with shooting to occur
the next day, Monday the 24th.
Pay will be $10 for rehearsal on Sunday, and $15 for filming on Monday.
Email Will for details :

This position will assist the film office in creating media content, answer production phone calls, and scout filming locations for productions coming into the state. The ability to operate a PC or MAC computer is required.
Qualifications: Interest in PR, Website Communication, Film and Media production, Adobe Suite, video editing, photography, videography, database, Excel, and other Microsoft office tools.
Full time, First year Intern.

Montana Law requires that a student intern be a person who has been accepted in or is currently enrolled in an accredited school, college or university (2-18-101 MCA).

Application Process: Letter of application with specific attention to why this program of interest, resume with concentration on collegiate career, rank of Internship opportunities for which you are applying in order of preference, and if you have a full or part time preference.

Please send all application materials electronically to:

Penny Fassett:

Deadline for applications is March 24th, 2017. Interns will be selected by April 7th, 2017.
Montana State Government and the Montana Department of Commerce do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, or sexual orientation), age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, creed, political affiliation, veteran status, military service, retaliation, or any other factor not related to the merit and qualifications of an employee or applicant.


Double Act Productions is developing a show for Animal Planet featuring American families who’ve moved off grid and into the wild. We are looking for families that have a important connection with their pets or the surrounding wildlife. If your family is interested in taking part and currently lives in a remote part of the US, or elsewhere in the world, then we’d love to hear from you!

Executive Director
Family Travel Association
M: 208-921-5626

Tina Buckingham is looking for real people for a lifestyle commercial. Men and women in mid 20’s to early 40’s, plus older teens.  Please note if you can ski – both cross country and backcountry.

Open ethnicity.  Real people.  Should be approachable and somewhat attractive.

Please submit photos: one close up (head shot) and one full body.  These should be current.  May be taken with phone. Please include ht/wt, age and phone contact.

Deadline is mid-day, Monday, February 13, 2017.

Please submit to:

Tina Buckingham,
Casting Director

University of Montana Filmmaker, Hyein Kang, invites local talent
to participate in a casting call for an upcoming short film, entitled
“THE ATTEMPT” – interested individuals may email Hyein directly
at  ‘’ for inquiries, additional details, time,
place, roles available, script readings, and auditions.

*All photos must be shot in Montana*
Except for Yellowstone National Park submissions

DEADLINE: January 31, 2017

Happy 2017! The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development (MOTBD) is conducting a photo call to solicit images needed for promotional efforts and invites you to submit your original work for consideration.

DESIRED USAGE: Five year, non-exclusive rights for use on, social, earned, paid, and print media. Specific usage rights will be negotiated at time of purchase.

IN PERPETUITY USAGE: MOTBD may inquire about full rights in perpetuity for any of the images submitted.

PAYMENT SCALE: To be negotiated – competitive.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Please send a link to your gallery or lightbox to Kristin Gates at by January 31, 2017. All images must be tagged or labeled with the location. We will be reviewing photos on an incoming basis until February 10 and will begin the purchasing process shortly thereafter. Please keep your gallery or lightbox link live until the end of February.

DISCLAIMER: Please make sure all submissions for activity photos depict the appropriate safety gear (e.g., helmets for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling, life jackets for water sports, etc.).

ALL SEASON SHOT LIST: We are looking for images of the following subjects in both warm and winter season.

–       Hot springs resorts and pools photos (variety of shots with people, without people, family photos, photos without kids, daytime and nighttime)

o   Symes Hot Springs Hotel & Mineral Baths (Hot Springs)

o   Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs (Saco)

o   Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort (Paradise)

o   Lolo Hot Springs Resort (Lolo)

o   Spa Hot Springs (White Sulphur Springs)

o   Boulder Hot Springs (Boulder)

o   Fairmont Hot Springs (Anaconda)

o   Lost Trail Hot Springs (Sula)

o   Elkhorn Hot Springs (Polaris)

o   Norris Hot Springs (Norris)

o   Bozeman Hot Springs (Bozeman)

o   Jackson Hot Springs Lodge (Jackson)

–       Yurt photos (inside and outside shots, cozy ambience shots, shots with and without people, shots with people dining, etc.)

–       Moose photos (shots with moose in scenic landscapes)

–       Family fun photos (any shots with families and kids enjoying outdoor recreation against a majestic backdrop)

WINTER SHOT LIST: We are looking for images of the following subjects specifically in winter.

–       Fly fishing photos (shots with snow, shots with women, shots with people wading in rivers, shots with majestic winter backdrops, etc.)

–       Ice climbing photos (action shots, wide angle shots with people, shots that show epic scale)

o   Hyalite Canyon

–       Ski/snowboarding photos (epic shots in powder, groomed or trail, ski shots of powder at ski area)

–       Après skiing activity photos (shots of people socializing in lodges with and without ski gear on, shots with people gathering around a fireplace or fire pit, shots with people drinking hot chocolate, family shots, etc.)

–       Polebridge, MT photos (shots of Polebridge Mercantile in winter, cabins with snow, general town shots, shots with and without people, etc.)

–       Garnet Ghost town photos (shots of cabins and winter activities, shots with snow, shots with people, cross-country ski and snowmobiling shots)

–       Rocky Mountain Front photos (sweeping, majestic shots of Rockies meeting plains, shots with road/highway visible, shots with interesting cloud formations, shots at sunrise or sunset)

–       Sleigh ride photos (shots with families, couples, daytime, evening, and nighttime shots)

o   Cripple Creek Horse Ranch (Trego)

o   Bar W Guest Ranch (Whitefish)

o   Double Arrow Lodge (Seeley Lake)

o   The Resort at Paws Up (Greenough)

o   Bozeman Sleigh Rides (Bozeman)

o   Broken Hart Ranch (Gallatin Gateway)

o   320 Guest Ranch (Big Sky)

o   Cache Creek Outfitters (Big Sky)

o   Lone Mountain Sleigh Ride Dinners (Big Sky)

o   Beartooth Wagon & Sleigh Rides (Red Lodge)

–       Ice skating photos (general shots in scenic landscape, shots with families skating outdoors)

–       Ice fishing photos (shots with families, shots on sunny/clear days, shots of festivals, etc.)

SUMMER SHOT LIST: We are looking for images of the following subjects specifically in summer.

–       Flathead Lake photos (shots showing clear water, lakebed, shots with people and families, activity shots, scenic landscapes, etc.)

–       Ghost town/mining town photos (shots with and without people and families, shots highlighting activities and events, shots of buildings)

o   Coloma (Missoula)

o   Granite Ghost Town State Park (Philipsburg)

o   Marysville (Marysville)

o   Rimini (Helena)

o   Virginia City (Virginia City)

o   Zortman (Zortman)

o   Elkhorn State Park (Boulder)

o   Alder Gulch (Virginia City)

o   Karst’s Camp (Big Sky)

o   Laurin (Alder)

–       Scenic river photos (scenic landscapes, shots with and without people)

o   Missouri River

o   Jefferson River

o   Big Hole River

o   Madison River

o   Gallatin River

o   Smith River

o   Yellowstone River

o   Blackfoot River

o   Bighorn River

o   Milk River

o   Clark Fork River

o   Flathead River

o   Powder River

o   Kootenai River

o   Swan River

–       Watersports photos (shots of families/people standup paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, tubing, water skiing, and sailing)

–       Fishing photos (shots of women, children and families fishing, scenics, etc.)

–       Rock climbing photos (shots showing epic climbs/scale)

–       Camping photos (shots with families, shots with tents, shots with RVs, hero-worthy shots with scenic landscapes, shots at sunrise or sunset, etc.)

–       Road trip photos (country-road driving shots, shots that convey sense of adventure, shots from backroads in Eastern Montana)

–       Brewery event/festival photos (shots of people at festivals, crowd/atmosphere shots, shots of friends)

–       Theater photos (shots of performances, people, entertainment, shots of exteriors and interiors with and without people)

o   Fort Peck Theater (Fort Peck)

o   Wilma Theatre (Missoula)

o   The Roxy Theater (Missoula)

o   The Ellen Theatre (Bozeman)

o   Mother Lode Theater (Butte)

–       Rodeo photos (shots of families, activities, action, shots displaying rodeo/cowboy/western culture, indoor and outdoor shots, atmosphere shots)

–       Northern Lights/starry night photos (inspiration shots of Northern Lights, time lapses or galaxy shots)

Thank you in advance for your contributions. Please contact with any questions! We look forward to working with you.

The Montana Film Office is currently updating our database of EXPERIENCED set designers, set propmakers, finish carpenters, and master painters. Thorough knowledge of industry standard set construction techniques is an ABSOLUTE must. Please register or update your current crew listing in our Reel Scout database. List build credits, job titles, and film/project worked on and year. Resumes containing your additional experience may also be uploaded into your profile. Carpenters & painters with exceptional finish and interior specialty skills are also asked to update or create new profiles within the database. All new profiles & updates will be reviewed and verified. Finish carpenters & master painters with experience in local high-end & specialty shops (I.E. ‘Yellowstone Traditions’, ‘OSM’, and other ultra fine-craft oriented shops) may potentially qualify as on-set finish propmakers & master painters, without necessarily working on a previous film or television project. The waiving of such requirements will be at the discretion of the hiring entities.

We are compiling this workforce referral information for a number of projects that are considering Montana for multi-episode TV series, and film projects. There has been an emphasis placed on the need for traditional, frontiersman, 1880’s western, and ranch styles of construction, finish craftsmanship, and period painting skills.

Please feel free to email the Montana Film Office with any additional questions, however, DO NOT email resumes & updates for your crew listing to the office. Crew listings and updates may only be submitted through the Reel Scout database.

Updates & new profiles may be created by following the link tab button “CREW & SERVICES” and then ‘Crew & Services’ in the pop-up menu. Select ‘register’ to create a new profile, or ‘login’ to edit & update your existing listing.

The Montana Film Office maintains the crew referral database as a means for producers, keys & department heads, to contact would-be employees for potential employment on film & television projects. The Montana Film Office does not hire nor place employees on projects; nor does it function as/or in lieu of your local hiring hall, job rep, or any other agency. The database is maintained as a courtesy for projects seeking to hire local Montanans, utilize their valuable skills, and contribute to the overall economic health of our Montana communities.

Seeking Associate Film Producer to work on a feature documentary film project with a small crew. This project will have national distribution and covers a timely story that is environmentally focused.
– Advanced organizational, communication, and computer skills are absolutely necessary.

– Project management skills in long-format storytelling and workflow. Experience as a producer is a plus.

– Ability to work independently.

– Starting office hours (approx 24h/week) are Monday through Wednesday – more hours w/experience. Office located in NE Bozeman.
Position Responsibilities:

The Assistant Producer is responsible for pre-production office support and on-location production assistance including:

· Interview and shoot planning

· Developing interview questions

· Developing shot list and researching locations

· Pulling permits and other compliances

· Researching issues related to film

· Assembling the production crew

· Arranging travel and transportation for production

· Researching funding options

· Managing database and assets

· Office support
During this process the Associate Producer will be helping to develop the story and will gain a detailed knowledge and understanding about the issues presented in this film. These are key issues that will affect our country at large and must be handled with respect and professionalism.


This a part-time hourly office position (~24h/week) with no medical benefits, paid sick leave, or other benefits. Starting pay is $18/h with a possible wage increase after two months. Position will last at least six months up to one year.

To Apply:

Please send Resume in PDF or Word document to In addition, expand on three to five of your project management oriented resume listings with details on your specific contribution. Please note that further details about the project will not be given until the candidate applies for the position.

Position open until filled.

One day while in the first grade in Argentina, Lisa Bonaccorso’s mother came to pick her up unexpectedly from school in the middle of the day.

While her mother was trying desperately to get Bonaccorso to leave, the child’s one concern was retrieving the class guinea pig, as it was her turn to care for the critter overnight. Her mother was sick with worry and eventually managed to pull Bonaccorso and her siblings from the school. Bonaccorso was livid with her mother for jeopardizing her one chance to care for the guinea pig.

However, her mother had bigger things on her mind. The family would not be coming back — to the school, to the city or even to the country.

Hours before, the United States government contacted Bonaccorso’s father, ordering him to take his family and every American family he knew and flee for their lives.

The family was forced to escape the country and suddenly they were thrown into the middle of a dangerous political battle that defined Latin America throughout the 1970s.

It has been more than 40 years since that day. Bonaccorso no longer holds a grudge against her mother over the guinea pig, although she never saw it again.

Instead, Bonaccorso has set out on a journey to tell the story of her parents as they tried desperately to keep their family together and safe from the very real dangers that surrounded U.S. citizens in Latin America in the 1970s.

Bonaccorso has written and produced the script for her parents’ story, “Caught in the Crossfire.” With help via an online Kickstarter campaign, Bonaccorso hopes to direct and produce “Crossfire” as a feature film.

“I believe the film transcends time,” Bonaccorso said. “You can take the family in this film and transplant them in the Middle East, or Africa, and they will still face the same trials that they do in this story.”

The Kickstarter campaign seeks to raise $1.7 million by May 28, the bare minimum needed to produce the film. However, several big-name actors, such as Nestor Carbonell, already have signed on to star in the film.

“It’s an honor to have someone like him (Carbonell) sign on,” Bonaccorso said. “He really believes in what we’re doing, and believes in the script. That’s incredibly humbling for me.”

The script was a finalist in the 2014 Screenplay Contest at the Gasparilla International Film Festival, and won in its category at the 2013 London Filmmaker Festival.

Bonaccorso owns and operates a film production company in the Flathead Valley, May October Productions. The company opened in 2011, when Bonaccorso relocated from Los Angeles to live in Kalispell full time. A second company, Crossfire Pictures, is housed under the parent company.

Bonaccorso started in the film business 25 years ago when, after graduating from Boston University, she began a career as a crew person for productions in New York and later Atlanta. Bonaccorso dreamed of being a cinematographer and received advice from a peer in the industry who said she should learn how to work in lighting to break into the industry.

Following this advice, Bonaccorso got a job running cable as an electrician on a film production set. However, when she arrived, she found the cable was incredibly heavy and had to be carried up five flights of stairs.

“I could hardly even pick it up,” she said with a laugh. “But I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t do the job, so I just pushed through. By the end of the film, though, I could do all the work with no problem.”

This tenacity has proved to be Bonaccorso’s best quality time and time again. She worked in lighting for four years, then transferred to work as a camera assistant. Again, her reputation as a hard worker helped to get her in the door and land her job after job over the next 20 years.

When Bonaccorso started out in the industry, she was one of the only women working in film, let alone as a crew member.

“I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I was breaking ground for women across the industry,” she said.

She propelled through the ranks, working on major films such as “Rush Hour,” the original “Fast and the Furious,” “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” and television shows such as “The West Wing,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Mad Men.”

Bonaccorso was inspired to tell her parents’ story after she watched a friend’s documentary. Originally, she set out to record their story for future family generations, but later realized, with a helpful nudge from a friend, that the story could be a captivating feature film.

After hitting walls trying to get someone to write the screenplay, Bonaccorso wrote her own script in just six weeks, again proving her will to push the project forward.

However, the battle was just beginning.

Not only was Bonaccorso a woman trying to make it in an industry that was just beginning to accept women in leadership positions, but she was also a crew person, trying to make the transition into producing and directing.

“It’s very hard to break into the industry that way, and go from below the line to an above-the-line position,” Bonaccorso said, referring to people who go from a position where their name is listed in the credits after the movie, to a position listed before the movie starts, such as main actors, producers and directors.

So far she has made incredible strides, thanks to connections in the industry as well as contacts she made who believe in the script. Bonaccorso has also made a short teaser video based on interviews with her family, which has gleaned the attention of many who are now involved with the film.

Last year she partnered with producer Fred Caruso, who has managed and produced films such as “The Godfather” and “Blue Velvet.” Bonaccorso credits Caruso as a driving force in the success of the film thus far.

The biggest obstacle is the funding. The $1.7 million requested in the Kickstarter campaign is the minimum Bonaccorso’s team needs to make the movie, which will be shot in the U.S. and Argentina as soon as funding is available and schedules are locked into place.

For more information on the film, or to donate, search for “Caught in the Crossfire” on

Reporter Brianna Loper may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at

EDIT: The story states that actor Nestor Carbonell has signed on, further conversation with the filmmaker corrects this to say that “”Nestor is seriously interested in playing the male lead.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to study with a working Hollywood director! Tom is a well-respected, very knowledgeable and extremely funny member of the prestigious Directors Guild of America. Starting as a child actor on Broadway, Tom worked as an actor for years including a contract role on General Hospital. He also worked as an apprentice writer on Saturday Night Live. Tom’s true talent though, is as an award-wTom Logan camera pictureinning director of TV, Film and Commercials. Go to or for more about his career.

Now he’s here to share his years of expertise with you!

Saturday – Think you know how to audition for commercials? Not like you will after taking this class. Tom’s no-nonsense approach cuts through all the things that keep you from booking your share. He will free you from ever getting nervous on a casting again. On-Camera you will work with a director on commercial after commercial, until you get it right.

Auditioning for TV, Film, Soaps and Commercials has never been easier. Tom takes you through the subtle differences of each medium, while strengthening your skills beyond your wildest dreams. It can’t be beat!
One day workshop Saturday, February 14, 2015, all for ONLY $199
Check out this amazing review about Tom’s workshop:–-best ever/

Tom’s new movie “Campin Buddies” is out !!!
Tom is always seeking out new talent for upcoming projects as he teaches and works with the talent !!!


Please contact Karla Johnson for information: or 406-855-2761

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nik Griffith
Public Relations and Multimedia
Montana Film Office
Montana Department of Commerce

 Montana Film Office Announces Changes to Big Sky Film Grant Deadlines

(HELENA) –Commissioner of the Montana Film Office, Deny Staggs, has announced changes to the application deadline for the Big Sky Film Grant.

As the Big Sky Grant Program moves into a new fiscal year and grant cycle, application deadlines have changed. Grant applications for consideration in 2014 must be submitted to the Montana Film Office by Saturday, November 15th. After that applications will be accepted on the 15th of every other month starting January 2015. Applications submitted digitally or by mail must arrive by midnight MST.

Part of the Montana Film Incentive Package, The Big Sky Film Grant is a $1 million dollar grant pool that offers funding to filmmakers looking to shoot in-state, resident filmmakers, in-state production companies, and film-festival bound Montanans.

Administered through the Montana Department of Commerce’s Montana Promotions Division, the grant allows applicants to apply for funding to complete film and multimedia projects which provide opportunities for Montana to appear in an indelible light on screens large and small.

For more information or to apply for the grant, the application may be found online at

For any questions regarding permitting, locations, or productions in Montana contact the Montana Film Office at or 1.800.553.4563.


Don’t miss the opportunity to study with a working Hollywood director, Tom Logan. Tom is a well-respected, very knowledgeable and extremely funny member of the prestigious Directors Guild of America. Starting as a child actor on Broadway, Tom worked as an actor for years including a contract role on General Hospital. He also worked as an apprentice writer on Saturday Night Live. Tom’s true talent though, is as an award-winning director of TV, Film and Commercials. Go to or for more about his career.

Now he’s here to share his years of expertise with you!

Saturday – Think you know how to audition for commercials? Not like you will after taking this class. Tom’s no-nonsense approach cuts through all the things that keep you from booking your share. He will free you from ever getting nervous on a casting again. On-Camera you will work with a director on commercial after commercial, until you get it right.

Auditioning for TV, Film, Soaps and Commercials has never been easier. Tom takes you through the subtle differences of each medium, while strengthening your skills beyond your wildest dreams. It can’t be beat!
One day workshop Saturday, August 16, 2014, all for ONLY $199
Please call 406-855-2761 for reservations and more information.
Check out this amazing review about Tom’s workshop:

Looking for Models, Actors, Singers and Dancers ages 5 on up.
Auditions are by appointment only. Please call for an audition time: 406-855-2761
Saturday, August 16th, 7-9 pm ONLY! HURRY reservations are almost filled up!

Tom’s new movie “Campin Buddies” is in production now!
Tom is always seeking out new talent for upcoming projects as he teaches and works with the talent.

The Audience Awards is excited to announce an open call for filmmakers of University of Montana and Montana State University campuses to compete in The Cat vs. Griz Audience Awards Competition.

The Cat/Griz Audience Awards film competition is open to current enrolled students at either university or their affiliate campuses. We are accepting submissions for all genres and topics of films from college students that are 15 minutes or under from April 22 – June 2, 2014. The films will compete at from June 16-­‐30, 2014.

Overall Winner receives $1000

Cat film with the most votes receives $250 Griz film with most votes wins $250, meaning the overall winner receives $1250!

Submissions are now open through June 2nd. The cost for entry is $5.00. The competition will run June 16-­‐30, 2014. For more information, contact or You can call us at 406-­‐532-­‐5399.

It costs $5 to submit. You can have this fee waived by following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook announcing that you’re submitting to compete in the competition and asking your friends to support the competition. Use #AudienceAwards

Facebook: The Audience Awards
Twitter: @audienceawards
Instagram: @audienceawards

Submit your film and learn more: Submit to Griz/Cat Audience Awards Competition

Check out the full call for entries here.

RealityLove it or hate it, reality (or ‘unscirpted’) television has taken quite the hold on broadcast media. With so many different stories of the human condition just waiting to be shared, the market seems to be never ending.

Now, with the help of Collective Reality, a development team with members experienced in both reality and scripted television, you may be get a story out in front of even larger audiences.

With all the stories that Montana has, from Doomsday Preppers in the west to the American Ranchers throughout the state, there are sometimes ample opportunities to take great stories as far as they can go.

If you come across a unique story that you think has what it takes to make it in the expansive reality TV market, contact

See Collective Reality’s release here.

For any questions or more information, contact:
Harlan Freedman
VP, Head of Development
Collective Reality TV
5274 W. Pico Blvd, Suite 208
Los Angeles, CA 900019

NOTE: The information relating to casting calls/promotions may include inaccuracies or errors. The Montana Department of Commerce and the Montana Film Office, collectively MFO, does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy or reliability of the information. Your use of the information is at your own risk; MFO is not liable for any harm. MFO recommends getting as much information from the source of the call prior to any auditions or submissions.

University of Montana students will appear just a little larger than life when they hit the screen tonight.

Untrammeled”, a documentary film from local, Florence-based filmmakers Shanenon and Julia Starrett, follows two groups of Montana students as they traverse the beauty of the Scapegoat and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas. The groups, one made of local Hellgate, Sentinel, and Salish-Kootanai high school students and one of University of Montana-Missoula students, trekked on multiple backpacking trips, including on 12 day, 85 mile trip. With film crew in tow, every step and challenge the students faced (and even some candid reflections) were captured in some of the most unspoiled vistas Montana has to offer.

The film was created as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wilderness Act, which in 1964, created 9.1 million acres of federally protected wilderness areas and began a legacy of protection that has expanded to include more than 109 million acres of protected land. “Untrammeled” will be featured at many celebrations of the act this year as well as featured in film festivals around the nation. Director of the film, Shanenon Starrett, said in a press release “This was an incredible filming opportunity for us and we are very thankful to the passionate people who made it all possible, especially the founders of the Wilderness Act itself. We are very excited to share with the public the adventure these students had in a film that is set in one of Montana’s greatest treasures.”

SOme of the film’s highlights include having been shot about and by 100% Montanans, using solar technology to power their equipment, and filming over 85+ miles of Montana-led backpacking adventures.

“Untrammeled’ will screen for the first time Tuesday, April 8th at the UC Theater (UC Commons building at the University of Montana campus), starting at 7pm.

Fore more information about the film or the filmmakers, contact Julia Starrett at Starrett Artists, LLC ( or 406.823.0101.

MFO-News-LogoSaturday March 23, 2014/Sunday March 24, 2014

Billings nabs another film project
The MissoulianMar 22, 2014
BILLINGS – Excitement is building in Billings where scenes from the horror film “A Writer’s Ghost” are being shot. Even cooler is the fact that filmmakers are 


Group retracing trek of wandering Oregon wolf OR-7
Ravalli Republic
Using traditional storytelling, real-time multimedia blogging, time-lapse photography and a documentary film, they hope to offer new insights into what the spread 

MonTEC provides support and resources while helping
Helena Independent Record
MISSOULA — Paige Williams’ basement wasn’t conducive to working with a team to create a new company. Last July, just a few months after starting Film Spur, 

Jeff Bridges joins gov on tour to fight childhood hunger
Helena Independent Record
“You’ve gone too far,” he quipped, which got a hearty laugh out of the entourage of nearly 100 people — the governor’s staff, a documentary film crew, YMCA 

Monday March 25, 2014

Film student rewinds Montana history for short film
KXLF Butte News
“This film has gone beyond my expectations,” she said. “I knew it would be a little tricky doing a period piece, but we really pulled off the authenticity of it and it’s 

UM brings people together through international cuisine for 23rd year
The Missoulian
This year, the festival also began a partnership with the Montana International Children’s Film Festival, showing short films from around the world specifically 

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Young Dubliners to return for Celtic Festival Missoula
The Missoulian
Drawing from Irish melodies, jigs and reels, and themes from Rigler’s film and television work, the duo produce “a hearing-is-believing sonic experience.”.

Community members earn honors at Missoula Cultural Council’s ...
The Missoulian
MCAT has also become a resource and educational center for youth projects, such as summer camps, a high school film contest, and a new media academy at …

Roy W. Dean Spring Grant Now Accepting Applications
The Roy W. Dean Spring grant is now soliciting applications for unfinished or proposed documentaries, short films, and features that are “unique and contribute to society.” The winner of the grant will receive $2,000 in cash and nearly $30,000 in film services, goods, and support to complete their project.
Services and goods included in the $30,000 of support include time from editors, colorists, and legal teams, as well as goods from G-Technology, Abelcine Tech NY, Nice Shoes, and Edgewise Media.

All applicants will also receive a consultation with Carole Dean, head of the non-profit grant sponsor, From The Heart Productions.
For more information you can go to or email her at

Montana film “Intervals” Launches Indiegogo campaign
Montana filmmaker Tom Stagg has launched an Indiegogo campaign to assist with brining his latest project to life.

The shot entitled, “Intervals”, tells the true story of a piano tuner who was able to bring one of this lifelong clients, a gifted pianist with dementia, out of the mental haze that was her daily life and into moments of genuine connection through the power of a piano.

The film is slated to begin production in just under a week and is seeking funds for both shooting and post-production.

More information can be found on the film’s social channels and sites:


The Sandy Animator and Crew Make International Animation Festival Cut
Corrie Francis Parks, a Big Sky filmmaker better known as “The Sandy Animator”, and a team of HATCH alumni have had their collaborative short “Hatch” accepted into the Annecy Film Festival in Berlin this June.

Born out of the most recent HATCH experience in Bozeman, Mont. the short highlights Parks’ characteristic sand-and-light box animation technique scored to music by award-winning composer, Phillip Sheppard (“In the Shadow of the Moon”) and edited by Bozeman designer Jesse Barney.

More information about the festival acceptance and other films in the category may be found at:

“Hatch” as well as Parks’ other works (including her last year’s Annecy selection, “A Tangled Tale”) may be viewed on her Vimeo page.

Thursday March 27, 2014

X-Files west
Missoula Independent
The official description for the film calls it a “1980s-style contemporary western in which a guitar-playing drifter helps a rancher’s granddaughter …

Elvis comes to life in Bigfork
Daily Inter Lake
… his new movie “The Identical.” The film stars Pelton (known as actor Blake Rayne for the role), Ashley Judd and Ray Liotta, Seth Green and Joe Pantoliano.

MSU students’ works selected for national electronic music festival
Montana State University
Students develop skills in areas including acoustic and electro-acoustic music composition and theory, recording, sound synthesis, sound design for film and …

Friday March 28, 2014

The Missoulian
“Falcon Song” (not yet reviewed) – A guitar-playing drifter helps a rancher’s granddaughter find her true calling against the backdrop of a land war in this film …

‘Out of the Studio’ films musicians playing outdoors
The Missoulian
Last winter, Kier Atherton began producing a short film series called “Out of the Studio,” which seems like an outdoorsy answer to All Songs Considered’s “Tiny …

West up for Montana Tourism ‘film-friendly’ award
West Yellowstone News
While Buick shot in the Bozeman area, and Toyota in Big Sky, Hyundai turned to West Yellowstone, according to the Montana Film Office, a division of the …

Montana filmmakers seek money for Western noir
The Missoulian
Local filmmakers are raising money to shoot a feature film, “Love Like Gold,” in the Eureka and Missoula areas. They hope to raise $30,000 on by …

Saturday March 29, 2014

Rewind to Fast-Forward
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle-
Sasha Joseph Neulinger, 24, has collected more than 200 hours of family home videos for his documentary, Rewind to Fast-Forward, a film he is producing …

New copters fly cameras for unique photos, videos
Billings Gazette
“I can use it to film rock and ice climbing and have the ability to chase skiers, … fields, real estate agents to show off property, and for movie photography.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Puppets go wild for Missoula parade
The Missoulian
Steinberg said this year the IWFF will feature more than 60 different films. … April 12 to 19, is the oldest and longest running wildlife film festival in the world.

MFO-News-LogoRoy W. Dean Spring Grant Now Accepting Applications

The Roy W. Dean Spring grant is now soliciting applications for unfinished or proposed documentaries, short films, and features that are “unique and contribute to society.” The winner of the grant will receive $2,000 in cash and nearly $30,000 in film services, goods, and support to complete their project.

Services and goods included in the $30,000 of support include time from editors, colorists, and legal teams, as well as goods from G-Technology, Abelcine Tech NY, Nice Shoes, and Edgewise Media.

All applicants will also receive a consultation with Carole Dean, head of the non-profit grant sponsor, From The Heart Productions.

For more information you can go to or email her at

Montana film “Intervals” Launches Indiegogo campaign

Montana filmmaker Tom Stagg has launched an Indiegogo campaign to assist with brining his latest project to life.

The shot entitled, “Intervals”, tells the true story of a piano tuner who was able to bring one of this lifelong clients, a gifted pianist with dementia, out of the mental haze that was her daily life and into moments of genuine connection through the power of a piano.

The film is slated to begin production in just under a week and is seeking funds for both shooting and post-production.

More information can be found on the film’s social channels and sites:

The Sandy Animator and Crew Make International Animation Festival Cut

Corrie Francis Parks, a Big Sky filmmaker better known as “The Sandy Animator”, and a team of HATCH alumni have had their collaborative short “Hatch” accepted into the Annecy Film Festival in Berlin this June.

Born out of the most recent HATCH experience in Bozeman, Mont. the short highlights Parks’ characteristic sand-and-light box animation technique scored to music by award-winning composer, Phillip Sheppard (“In the Shadow of the Moon”) and edited by Bozeman designer Jesse Barney.

More information about the festival acceptance and other films in the category may be found at:
“Hatch” as well as Parks’ other works (including her last year’s Annecy selection, “A Tangled Tale”) may be viewed on her Vimeo page.

Volunteer for the 37th Annual International Wildlife Film Festival!

IWFF is currently recruiting volunteers to help with everything from running the theater (box office, concessions, ushering, projection) to assisting with special events/receptions/panels, WildWalk parade, marketing, graphic work, office assistance and more.

Volunteers get festival passes and other perks. 

If you are interested in being a part of this amazing event contact:
Adelaide Every, IWFF volunteer coordinator at volunteer@theroxytheater or  406-360-7452.



Our Services - MFO News

Here’s the round up of what happened this week in film news in Montana:

Monday March 17, 2014

One year after reopening historic Missoula bar, Top Hat continues to
The MissoulianMar 15, 2014
Checota said he’s also partnered with different community organizations and events, including the Missoula Symphony Association and the Big Sky Film Festival 

Downtown Missoula center to offer collaborative workspace
The Missoulian-2 hours ago
Pepos, will move his film office into the suite and a massage therapist will continue her presence in a second office. In addition to providing a workspace, the 

New documentary follows lives of three Montana ranchers
Prairie Star – Mar 16, 2014
New documentary follows lives of three Montana ranchers. Saved … A new documentary film, “Ridin’ for the Brand,” attempts to bridge that gap.

Tuesday March 18, 2014

Have You Heard: Local guide named tops by Outside Magazine
Billings Gazette-22 hours ago
Last summer, a film crew from “” was shooting in Montana. The shoot included ZooMontana’s Jeff Ewelt, Yellowstone River 

Wednesday March 19, 2014

Group retracing trek of wandering Oregon wolf OR-7
KULR-TV-7 hours ago
Using traditional storytelling, real-time multimedia blogging, time-lapse photography and a documentary film, they hope to offer new insights into what the spread 

Texting encouraged – with messages sent to big screen – at Roxy
The Missoulian-13 hours ago
“This is the only time we ask you to leave your phone on in the movie,” said Mike Steinberg, the Roxy Theater and International Wildlife Film Festival’s executive 

News Briefs for March 18
Belgrade News-17 hours ago
Headwaters Academy will host Bozeman’s own filmmaker, Sabrina Lee, along with co-director, Shasta Grenier, to show their latest film, Not Yet Begun to Fight, 

Team members from R/GA, the digital agency known for its work with …
Montana State University-16 hours ago
With offices worldwide, R/GA was founded in 1977 as a motion graphics firm and worked on more than 400 feature films including Superman and Alien. By 1995 ..

Indie feature film ‘Falcon Song’ shows March 22 at Babcock
Billings Gazette-15 hours ago
Several screenings of “Falcon Song,” a feature-length film shot in part in Billings in 2012, will take place across Montana, including March 22 in Billings. The film 

Thursday March 20, 2014

One of few triple amputees to survive Iraq injuries will speak March
Montana State University-19 hours ago
He will give an update on his budding acting career, which has included appearances in the Golden Globe Award-winning film, “The Wrestler,” the HBO 

Eyes wide open

Missoula Independent-6 hours ago
Still, somehow, this is a light film, mostly because it’s heavy-handed about living in the moment and emphasizing the journey over the destination. It shows the 

Friday March 21, 2014

Roxy hosting Children’s Film Fest
The Missoulian-1 hour ago
The fourth-annual Montana International Children’s Film Festival will take place this weekend at the Roxy Theater and at the University of Montana in 

Headwaters Academy Speaker Series promotes this PBS film
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle-9 hours ago
Headwaters Academy will host Bozeman filmmaker Sabrina Lee, along with co-director, Shasta Grenier, to show their latest film, “Not Yet Begun to Fight,” on 

One of few triple amputees to survive Iraq injuries will speak March
KBZK Bozeman News-Mar 20, 2014
He will give an update on his budding acting career, which has included appearances in the Golden Globe Award-winning film, “The Wrestler,” the HBO 

Weekly Webb: Magic City nabs another film project
Billings Gazette-8 hours ago
Excitement is building in Billings where scenes from the horror film “A Writer’s Ghost” are being shot. Even cooler is the fact that filmmakers are embracing parts 

Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs – Trailer from The Motorcycle Narrative on Vimeo.

With or without sidecars, filmmaker Eric Ristau has a knack for making motorcycles look good on film. Not long after having his short piece, “The Winter Rider” play in the Big Sky Documentary Shorts programs, he’s at it again with “Sit Stay Ride: The Story of America’s Sidecar Dogs.”

Started as a labor of love (both Ristau and his partner Geneva Liimatta are avid dog lovers and motorcycle enthusiasts), “Sit Stay Ride” is slowly evolving into a project that highlights many facets of the human and canine bond. “Our goal with Sit Stay Ride is to craft a film that will encourage viewers to look differently at the modern human/canine relationship and celebrate the tender and adventurous spirits of our four-legged friends, ” Ristau writes on the film’s Kickstarter page.

Still, the filmmakers are looking to provide more than entertainment by crafting the documentary as “a tool to bolster advocacy for organizations concerned with animal welfare and adoption.” A number of the pups on screen in the documentary are themselves rescue dogs who now relish sharing the open road with their biker partners.

The film is slated to start shooting early in April and will be wrapped and edited by August of this year.

In an effort to raise funds for production and to publicize the project, Ristau and Liimatta have started a Kickstarter page that highlights the project and the goals of the film. Any interested parties can contact the team through their Kickstarter or visit to view more of the pair’s work.

Winter Riding: Sit Stay Ride from The Motorcycle Narrative on Vimeo.

AbdualiFB1They’re before every play, every concert, and definitely before every movie. The big warning messages to turn off your cellphone and refrain from texting during the show.

But, Mike Stienberg, director of the Roxy Theater, isn’t having any of that any more. In fact, he’s encouraging movie goers to take out their phones and text throughout the whole picture.

In a join effort between Missoula’s Hellgate High School student government and the Roxy, Stienberg is pioneering the use of “movie chat” in Montana. A technology that has recently gained popularity in places such as Portland, Ore., “movie chat” allows viewers to text their thoughts to the screen and watch them appear on a feed below the movie.

Dubbing the new event “Text-O-Rama”, Stienberg and the Hellgate students hosting the event are hopeful that it creates a draw on the younger crowd to get involved with events in their hometown by creating an atmosphere of involvement and direction.

Tickets are $5 and available at the box office of the Roxy at 6 p.m. tomorrow night.  Proceeds from the screening will benefit a scholarship fund to assist students in attending the newly revitalized Montana Film Academy.

Read the full interview with Mike and the Hellgate students in The Missoulian.


What: “Twilight” presented in Text-O-Rama
Where: The Roxy Theater, Missoula, MT
When: 7 p.m., box office opens at 6 p.m.
Cost: $5, proceeds benefit Montana Film Academy scholarship
More info:

Image courtesy of Raven's Eye Productions. “At first I wanted to show the cowboy way of life, but then I realized there was more to it.”

Filmmaker Stephanie Alton, a Bozeman resident, has been hard at work for the past nine years documenting the lives of three Montana ranching families as they raised and cared for their livestock.

The film, “Ridin’ for the Brand”, was inspired when Alton, then living in New York City, began to wonder where her food was coming from. “People needed to know it took a rancher to get that meat to their plate,” she told the Prairie Star. So, Alton began asking questions and formulating the narrative of her film.

As she got deeper into the project she found the documentary becoming more than an educational tool; it was becoming a snapshot of the ranching life that these families have known and loved for generations.

Through use of footage she gathered herself and footage provided by the families she created a documentary that shows all that ranching entails. “They have to be able to fix fences, do mechanical work, and be a veterinarian,” Alton explained to the Star. She’s glad to see that such a dynamic portrait is already making inroads and assisting in educating people across the country about agriculture and the ways of life that sustain it.

The film will show on PBS this April and Alton has made herself available to show the film to groups, schools, communities.

To discuss the film or a screening with Alton, she may be reached at 406.321.1582 or at More information about “Ridin’ for the Brand” may be found at
Read the rest of Alton’s interview with The Prairie Star here.

Image courtesy of Raven’s Eye Productions.

The Montana Big Sky Film Grant was created to build partnerships with filmmakers and production companies by providing seed funding to enable the creation of jobs related to filmmaking production, enhance the marketing of Montana’s tourism regions, people, history, overall quality of life, and support Montana’s filmmaking community. The program presents four categories of funding on an annual rolling basis each fiscal year for (1) film and television projects spending over $300k in Montana, (2) resident Montana filmmakers, (3) filmmakers who are taking Montana made movies to internationally juried film festivals, and (4) projects that create Montana-centric content that can be utilized to promote Montana as a film and tourism destination.

Below is a list of Big Sky Film Grant award recipients, last updated in March of 2016. For more information on these projects or the Big Sky Film Grant program contact the film office.


Standing Room Only | Lone Pine Productions – $24,500

The Thin Line | The Thin Line, LLC – $19,500

Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs | Oracle Film Group – $18,000

Exit the Darkroom – Helio Collective – $72,527

Oracle Film Group Film Slate & Animation Facility | Oracle Film Group – $160,000

Winter Light | Innerlight Films, Lodger Films – $25,000

Big Muddy Moose | Scott Mestrezat – $1,000

Certain Women | Clyde Park, LLC – $280,000

All My Relations | Searching Pictures, LLC – $6,600

Generations | Shane Scherholz – $10,000

Which Dog’s Which? | Attack Team Entertainment – $60,000

Living Big Sky | Orion Entertainment – $20,000

The Shaman (Dead 7) | Music Vox Productions – $20,000



Winter In The Blood | Ranchwater Films – $24,500

Alex Smith, Andrew J. Smith

And We Were Young | Voyageur Pictures – $32,059

Andy Smetanka

A Portrait of CM Russell | University of Montana, KUFM-TV Montana PBS – $44,250

Gus Chambers, Paul Zalis, William Marcus

The Best Bar In America | Firewater Film Company – $22, 500

Damon Ristau, Eric Ristau

What Separates Us | Interwoven Studios – $14,000

Brian Ferriter, Isaac Marble

Is It The Water | Inliminal – $20,000

Geoffry Pepos

Spirit of Montana | Chisel Industries – $50,000

Yarrow Kraner, Matthew Barbour

Never Too Late | ColorBURN productions – $15,000

Devon Riter

The Ecology of Jazz | Tree & Sky Media Arts – $50,000

Pam Voth

Fire Season | Invincible Arts Society – $5,000

Andrew Smith, Courtney Saunders

Saving For The Day | Saving For The Day, LLC – $20,000

John D. Nilles

Love Like Gold | Love Like Gold, LLC – $20,000

Kier Atherton, Skye Grace Bennett

The Tinderbox | The Montana Movie Factory – $20,000

Elizabeth Cox

And We Were Young | Voyageur Pictures – $35,000

Andy Smetanka

Byong Cho’s Alley House | Grizzly Creek Films – $34,000

Thomas Winston

Kayla Adams “Sober & Sorry” | Stafford Multimedia – $25,000

Brian Skuletich

Backroads of Montana | Broadcast Media Center/ University of Montana – $15,000

William Marcus

For All | Wheelhouse Missoula – $3,850

Rachel Stevens

The Bug Movie: Life and Times of the People’s Car | Firewater Film Co – $22,000

Damon Ristau

Feral | Sorcery Films/ Digital Sorcery – $8,000

Heidi DuBose

Lester Leaps In | Montana Mafia Productions – $10,000

Mike Steinberg

Song of Montana | High Plains Films – $40,000

Dru Carr

80 Mile Radius: The Motorcyclists & Legendary Rides of MT | Air Mail Pictures – $8,600

Eric Ristau

Supporting Troops Through Fly Fishing | Simms Fishing Products – $15,000

Chris Patterson



All The Labor | High Plains Films – $5,000


Winter In The Blood – $5,000

Los Angeles Film Festival

A Tangled Tale | Corrie Francis Parks – $5,000

Annecy International Animation Festival , Hamburg International Short Film Festival

Where God Likes to Be | Counter Production – $1,000

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

Bella Vista | Slowtale, LLC – $5,000

International Film Festival Rotterdam

20/Nothing | Wheelhouse Missoula – $3,000

Hot Docs – Canadian International Documentary Festival

Winter Light and Summer Light | Max Lowe Media – $1,200

Mountain Film in Telluride

Where God Likes to Be | Counter Production – $4,000

Margaret Mead Film Festival

Bella Vista | Slowtale, LLC – $3,100

Local Sightings Film Festival, Filmfest Hamburg, San Diego Asian Film Festival

Unbranded | Fin & Fur Films, LLC – $2,000

Santa Barbara Film Festival

Unbranded | Fin & Fur Films, LLC – $2,500

Hot Docs, Telluride Mountain Film Festival, Equus International Film Festival, Port Townsend Film Festival, Ellensburg Film Festival

Subterranea | Birdman Films – $5,000

Rhode Island International Film Festival



Deer Father | Katie M. Roberts – $3,500

Abdulai (Ekumfi Atakwa) | Aidan Avery – $5,000

Bella Vista | Slowtale, LLC – $10,000

Subterranea | Birdman Films, LLC – $10,000

Film Crew Profiles | Speakeasy Studios – $15,000

Film School by Vargo | Mark Vargo Films – $12,500

Spirit Canoe | Helio Collective – $22,456

9 Pieces of Peace | Quiet Island Films – $15,000

Art Montana | Porch Productions – $11,951

UM Media Arts Showcase | Porch Productions – $13,500

Missoula Midsummer | Roger Hedden – $14,500

Montana On Location | Speakeasy Studios – $33,000

The Montana Experience YouTubeChannel | Big Sky Pictures – $50,000

Epic Montana YouTube Channel | Rented Mule Media – $50,000

The Reel West Montana YouTube Channel | Adagio Production – $50,000

Bard in the Backcountry | Montana PBS – $26,000

Yellowstone Northern Range Promotional Videos | Gardiner/Coulter Pass/Silver Gate Chambers of Commerce – $5,000

The Audience Awards | Film Spur – $14,993

Drive-In Across America | Drive-in Doc, LLC – $15,000

Headlock Security | DogSky Films – $26,080

Searching for Colors | Matthew Wheat – $500

The Native Ways | 360 Degree Films – $3,000

Wranglers, Dudes & Homesteaders | Rohrer Film & Video, Inc. – $4,000

Epic Montana | Rented Mule Media – $12,500

Doc | Story Road Films – $4,000

The Hunt | Lindsey Brunken – $500

Cold Comfort | Unconventional Productions – $8,000

The Ice Climber, Portrait of Ed Kemmick | Marshall Granger – $1,650

DIY406 | Liberty Productions – $7,800

5 Best Montana Fly Fishing Rivers | 406 Productions – $21,000

Birds of Prey – Wings Over Montana | Furrow Productions – $3,500

Between the Parks | Unconventional Productions – $19,000

Owls of Montana | Distill Productions – $8,000

Time Lapse Hunter | Rhythm Productions – $14,000

Waves & Women | Spout Films – $8,000

Stay Wild | Lever, LLC – $7,000

Wranglers, Dudes & Homesteaders | Rohrer Film & Video – $4,000

Darby Days | Irwin & Florence Rosten Foundation (MAPS Media) – $12,500

A People’s Champion | Adrian Pruett Entertainment – $15,000

Big Sky Sketches | Nestbox Collective – $3,500

Rare Bird | Helio Collective – $50,000

High Country Running | Jahrig Media – $7,950

Art Montana | Porch Productions – $15,000

The Montana Experience: Stories from Big Sky Country | Big Sky Pictures – $25,000

Adventure Cycling | Rented Mule Media – $10,500

Behind The Rut | Sprout Films – $8,000

Hand Made | Lever Creative – $25,000

The Ridge: Ten for Thirty | Frogpondia Films – $6,900

Spirit of Butte | Conduit, LLC – $25,000

Flow | Sprout Films – $ 37,500

New Hunters | Rented Mule Media – $18,000

Where the River Goes | Red Popsicle – $13,000

Big Sky Outdoors | Freestone Media, LLC – $20,000

Fresh Tracks with Randy Newberg | On Your Own Adventures, LLC – $6,667

Between the Parks: Holiday Spectacular | LIFExDOM – $12,100

Epic Montana Year 2 Support Grant | Rented Mule Media – $25,000

Montana Rooted | Elements Mixed Media – $20,000

Montana Winter Yurt Tour | Jahrig Media – $5,000

White Horse | Max Lowe Media – $20,000

The Reel Stars of Montana | Lever, LLC – $12,000

The Makers | Freestone Media, LLC – $20,000

Backcountry Cabin Skiing | Jahrig Media – $5,000

Mountain Miles | Jahrig Media – $4,000

Seasons | Universal Vision, Incorporated – $4,500

Way Around | The Life Cosmic Project/ Soulmotion – $5,000

360 Video | InsideMT – $49,925

Adventure Cycling Montana | Rented Mule Media – $21,300

Big Sky Sketches Shorts Series: Season 2 | Nestbox Collective – $6,169.50

Chasing Light- Yellowstone National Park | Rented Mule Media – $6,750

Dirt & Rubber | Tyler Swank – $4,500

Epic Montana Short-Form Promos | Rented Mule Media – $10,000

Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series | Step 1 Films – $6,450

Montana Bicycle Racing | Rented Mule Media – $9,350

Montana Motorcycle Touring | Rented Mule Media – $9,150

Montana Promotional Mini-docs Project | High Plains Films – $10,000

Montana Rooted Season 2 | Elements Mixed Media – $30,300

Mountain Miles – Episode 4 | Jahrig Media – $4,750

The 10-10-10 Challenge | Ë Media – $8,000

The Montana Flyfishing Series | Rented Mule Media – $12,500

The Montana Sessions | Universal Vision, Inc. – $12,975

Badger Creek | Skurnik Productions – $4,500

Epic Montana Skate Park & Fly Fishing Tour | Hi-Line Films – $10,000

Keep Our Blackfoot | PMD Productions – $5,000

Modern Native | Eddie Roqueta – $10,000

Thru-Hiking Through Life – The Creative Collective, $2,000

Willow Creek Road | Jenna Ciralli/From the Heart Productions – $6,000

bildeThe Fly Fishing Film Tour returns to Great Falls this Friday at 7:30 courtesy of the Missouri River Flyfishers.

Aimed at energizing Montana’s already ample flyfishing community, the film series also looks to inspire new anglers to get in the water and get fishing. Interested anglers (old or new) and film buffs alike can check out the trailers for the eight films making the tour this year on film tour’s website.

The Great Falls showing, at the Hilton Garden Inn, will assist the Missouri River Flyfishers in supporting the efforts of Trout Unlimited, the Federation of Flyfishers, and community activities to protect water systems and educate new anglers. Anyone interested in this mission is welcome to attend the social gathering before the event when the doors open at 4:30. There will be door prizes and merchandise available.

Tickets for the film tour may be purchased in advance at the Big R Fly Shop (406.761.7411) for $10 or at the door for $15.


When: Friday March 14, 2014 (doors open at 4:30, films at 7:30)
Where: Hilton Garden Inn, Great Falls, MT
Cost: 10$ in advance, $15 at the door

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetAt age 25, Max Lowe has already seen more of the world than most people three times his age. The celebrated writer and photographer has explored and worked on every continent, earning a prestigious National Geographic Young Explorer grant along the way.

Read the rest of the release […]

qRrqQ8efMontana filmmakers Skye Grace Bennett and Brick Patrick are returning to the Big Sky and teaming up with Kier Atherton and NYC actress Alexandra Henrikson to make “Love Like Gold.”

A modern film noir, “Love Like Gold” follows ranch hand Gage and singer Lola as they fight their respective pasts for the hope of a future. The filmmakers have begun an IndieGogo campaign to help raise funds for the project and are hopeful they will be able to start filming in April of this year. The campaign explains that they are seeking to “develop filmmakers that are ‘homegrown’ Montanans” and “showcase the natural beauty of our bountiful state.”

Be sure to check out the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, and Indiegogo and give some support to this Montana story and filmmakers.



2013 Reel from Motion Noise on Vimeo.

ifp-logoMontana filmmakers are known for creating and producing some of the most-groundbreaking independent and documentary films to-date. Still, that doesn’t mean that a little help is never needed. Independent Film Project (IFP) offers labs and seminars on the art of independent production throughout the year. From fundraising to marketing and distribution, IFP looks to make sure that every independent filmmaker has opportunity to share their vision with the world. Check out their Call for Entry section below:


IFP’s unique yearlong mentorship program supports first-time feature directors when they need it most:  through the completion, marketing and distribution of their films.  Focusing exclusively on low-budget features (<$1million), this highly immersive program provides filmmakers with the technical, creative and strategic tools necessary to launch their films – and their careers. Through the Labs, IFP works to ensure that talented emerging voices receive the support, resources, and industry exposure necessary to reach audiences. Open to all first time feature documentary and narrative directors with films in post-production. Twenty projects (10 documentaries and 10 narratives) are selected for the annual program which has three components: the Time Warner Completion Lab in the spring, the ­Marketing Lab in September, and the Distribution Lab in December. All Lab projects also automatically participate in the Project Forum of IFP’s Independent Film Week.

Lab alumni projects include Stacie Passon‘s Concussion (RADiUS-TWC), Alexandre Moors’ Blue Caprice (Sundance Selects), Penny Lane‘s Our Nixon (CNN Films and Cinedigm), Daniel Patrick Carbone‘s Hide Your Smiling Faces (Tribeca Film), Lotfy Nathan‘s 12 O’Clock Boys (Oscilloscope), Lucy Mulloy‘s Una Noche (Sundance Selects), Omar Mullick & Bassam Tariq‘s These Birds Walk (Oscilloscope),Dee Rees Pariah (Focus Features), and Terence Nance‘s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty (Variance Films).

Upcoming deadlines for the 2014 Labs are March 7 (Documentary) and April 4 (Narrative). For more info and to apply,

The Montana Film Office announces the premiere of Big Sky Film Grant awardees Aidan Avery and Lane Brown’s first documentary short film, “Abdulai” at the Roxy Theater in Missoula, Mont. this weekend.
Telling the story of Abdulai, a village elder from Ekumfi Atakwa in Ghana, Avery and Brown overcame enormous distances and language barriers to showcase the genuine happiness and culture found in the remote tribal community.

Read the rest of the release […]

The Montana Film Office is proud to partner with the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF) to present the 11th run of the premiere documentary film festival in the West.
Running from Friday, February 13th through the 23rd, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival provides an opportunity for the film office and the top documentary filmmakers to meet and collaborate at the Wilma Theater in downtown Missoula.

Read the rest of the release […]

IWFFRegistration Now Open!

The Open Call for the 2014 IWFF continues.  Deadline for film entry is January 31. (Extended LATE Deadline February 8)

From April 12-19 delegates from around the world will converge on Missoula and the newly remodeled Roxy Theater for a week of lively film screenings, energizing discussions, and cozy opportunities to meet and network with colleagues.  The week-long event will feature new and exciting films, special guests, workshops, seminars, field trips, technology sessions, product demos, parties and dynamic networking events, plus warm support from the local community.

A Filmmaker’s Festival
IWFF focuses on film and filmmakers and celebrates emerging filmmakers and the future of wildlife & environmental media.

New this year
Our expanded programming welcomes all films about the natural world, from environmental and conservation films to issue-driven explorations of earth and its inhabitants.

Sign up today to come back to the wild!  Download a registration form HERE.

For more information about IWFF please visit their website.

You can also head over to for an abundance of information about how to submit your film.

(MISSOULA) – The Montana Film Office announces their partnership with SAG-AFTRA EEO & Diversity and SAG-AFTRA National Native Americans Committee in sponsoring “The Business of Acting: The Inside Scoop on Casting”, an interactive panel discussion and workshop. The workshop will be held on Saturday, Feb 15 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the University of Montana Campus.

Read the release here […]

Basic-HeartMontana Film “Crimson Winter” premieres this weekend at the Myrna Loy Center. The film will run Red Lodge, Bozeman, and Missoula. See the screening schedule.

A collaboration between Montana filmmakers, Isaac Marble and Bryan Ferriter, “Crimson Winter” is a dramatic thriller shot in Montana and starring Montana talent.

Beginning in 2011 the film was entirely funded, cast, and shot through Ferriter and Marble’s efforts. Raising over $350,000 and hiring both in-state and Los Angeles-based actors, the crew shot through grueling temperatures, having the cast perform their own stunts, and horseback riding (which proved to be eventful). In the end they created, in the words of Deny Staggs, the Montana Film Commissioner, a “phenomenal” film.

With high-production values and compelling vistas, “Crimson Winter” shows just how far dedication and vision can go when Montana is on screen.

CW1Bryan will also be at Carroll College on January 23, 2014 to discuss the film and the process of embarking on such an ambitious project. For more information, contact the Carroll Student Activities Office at 406.447.4380.

For more information visit or contact the production company through Isaac Marble at 406.672.9619.


Screening Schedule:

Myrna Loy Center (406.443.0287):
January 24- 6:30 (tickets only at the Myrna Loy)
25th- 4pm, 7pm, 9pm
26th- 2pm, 4pm, 7pm
28th- 7pm
30th- 7pm

Roxy Theater (406.728.9380):
January 31st- 7:15 & 9:15
February 1st- 7:15 & 9:15
February 2nd- 7:15 & 9:15


Ellen Theater (406.585.5885):
February 1st- 7:30pm

Red Lodge
Roman Theater (406.446.2233):
January 31st- 9:30pm
February 1st- 9:30pm

Great Helena Independent Record coverage of the film.

Humans massacred their race, wrote them out of history and for centuries now, vampires have been forced to live in the shadows. Elric, a prince of these highly evolved creatures of the night, falls in love with a human – an intolerable offense to the royal family and Elric is imprisoned for a century until a group of loyalists battle to free him from his dark cell. Together they escape to the remote mountainous terrain of Montana territory in North America where they begin building an army to exact revenge upon his family.

A century later, in the frozen heart of winter, a group of researchers sets out to investigate a mysterious decline in the local wildlife population. Their journey takes them deep into the isolated mountain wilderness where they soon discover a terrifying truth and find themselves caught between two foes in a centuries-old battle between vampires and hunters. As they struggle to survive, they come face to face with the vampire prince, Elric, who is haunted by his own dark past. An ancient prophecy and his own anguished heart weigh heavily upon him as the vampire lord decides the fate of the hikers.

“Nebraska” nominated for six Academy Awards.

HELENA – The Montana Film Office announces that Montana-shot film “Nebraska” was nominated for six Academy Awards this morning. The dramatic comedy directed by previous Academy Award-winner Alexander Payne, was nominated in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb) Best Original Screenplay (Bob Nelson) and Best Cinematography (Phedon Papamichael).

“Nebraska” shot in several locations in Billings and Laurel in late 2012. The Montana Film Office assisted with initial location scouting, permitting, liaised with crew and production service providers, and connected the production with Montana location scout, Anne Gauer. Co-owner of Spotlight Productions in Billings, Guaer was instrumental in selection of Montana locations for the early scenes of the film.

“Nebraska” was precertified with Montana’s film incentive program, the Big Sky on the Big Screen Act and brought a total economic impact of $370,500 to the state. The weeklong Paramount feature hired 62 Montana-based crew and service providers, in addition to casting 30 local extras.

Breaking away from promoting Montana’s production savvy at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT, Film Commissioner Deny Staggs expressed his thrill at the nominations,

“We were excited to hear the announcement. Results like these prove how valuable Montana’s great locations and high-quality production professionals can be to a film.”

While it was not the only Montana-shot film to be nominated this awards season, “Nebraska” leads the pack with nods from the Writers Guild, Film Independent, the Screen Actors’ Guild and now the Academy Awards.

The 86th annual Academy Awards ceremony will take place March 2, 2014. The live telecast will air on ABC stations nationwide starting at 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Click here to watch the trailer for “Nebraska”

For more information on the Montana Film Office’s work with other award-winning films or production support in the state of Montana contact the office at or 1.800.553.4563.

The Montana Film Office will be on hand to present an award this weekend at the 9th Annual Coldsmoke Awards in Bozeman, MT.
Entering into a new realm of winter culture presentation, the Coldsmoke Awards has reached new heights of content and possibilities for its powder-hungry audiences. After a five-stop tour up and down the Rockies, winter film fest comes home to Bozeman to announce the winners of a possible $10,000.

Read the rest of the release […]

The Montana Film Office is glad to  announce that the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC) is going full steam towards its January 24 opening.

Nestled along the beautiful shores of Flathead Lake, FLIC is entering its second year of screening films from around the world. Entries came from across the globe to be screening for audiences in the valley.

Films will screen all day Saturday and Sunday, with an after party taking place for the public to mingle with the featured filmmakers on Saturday night. Opening night will feature Polson filmmaker Brooke Pepion Swaney and her film “Okay Breath Auralee”.

Emmy nominated and Webby award-winning animator Jeff Chiba Stearns will be on hand Saturday at 1:30 for animation workshop and Alber Iron Cloud Miller will screen her film “Dakota 38” at 8pm.

For more information on Alberta, Jeff, and Brooke you can read FLIC’s release about them.

An All Access Pass plus individual party and film block tickets can be purchased online at or at Showboat Cinemas, 416 Main St., Polson. Last year the first showing on Friday was sold out, so reserve tickets early. Information is also available by calling 406-274-0181 or emailing

Filmmaker Brooke Pepion Swaney

Filmmaker Brooke Pepion Swaney

Animator and filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns

Animator and filmmaker Jeff Chiba Stearns


Filmmaker Alberta Iron Cloud Miller


Deny Staggs, Montana’s Film Commissioner, announced today that the Montana Film Office placed third in both the Association Film Commissioners International (AFCI) 2013 Marketing Awards Logo and Digital Video categories.

Read the rest of the release […]

(Helena)- The Montana Film Office announced this morning that it has partnered with the College of Arts and Sciences at Montana State University-Bozeman to co-sponsor a “P.A. Bootcamp” this weekend.

Read the rest of the release […]

Nebraska-poster-001The Montana Film Office announces that Montana-shot film, “Nebraska” has received five nominations for the 71st annual Golden Globes.

The film, shot partially in Billings and Laurel, received nominations for Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Actor, Drama (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (June Squipp), Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.

Known for the success of his previous films “The Descendants,” “Sideways” and “Election,” Payne chose to shoot “Nebraska” in Montana as the authentic location of the story, which follows a father and son (played by Bruce Dern and Will Forte) as they travel from Montana to Nebraska on a questionable quest to collect a $1 million prize.

Described as a “good old-fashioned comedy” by Payne, “Nebraska” used several locations in Billings and Laurel in late 2012. The Paramount feature hired 62 Montana-based crew and service providers, in addition to casting 30 local extras. The Montana Film Office estimates that the weeklong production brought a total economic impact of $370,500 to the state.

“Nebraska” leads the awards season with the first official nomination for a Montana-shot film, but rumors abound that the film, as well as other Montana stories, will be Oscar contenders later this year.

The film will arrive in Montana on December 20th and will begin showing at the Shiloh 14 theater in Billings, MT.

A staple of the Bozeman arts community, the Bozeman Film Festival has been hosting films, documentaries, and student projects for over 30 years.

Now, they are again expanding their reach and bringing even more film exposure to their community through the new SharpShorts program.

Combined with the Montana State University-Bozeman School of Film and Photography, the Bozeman Film Festival will now screen a series of shorts from emerging artists from within MSU’s film school. The shorts will be screened before all the regularly scheduled Bozeman Film Festival films and introduced by the filmmakers themselves.

The shorts will begin at 7:30pm and be included in the admission price ($8/general and $7/student & senior). The Bozeman Film Festival screens films in the Emerson Center Crawford Theater and brings critically-acclaimed films to Bozeman throughout the year. For a current schedule and description of films to be shown visit

For more information about the Bozeman SharpShorts series you can contact Cindy Stillwell at 406.994.6521.

BV2High Country News features director Vera Brunner-Sung and the story behind recently shot Montana film, “Bella Vista.”

On a bitter morning in early April, on the south shore of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana, Vera Brunner-Sung stood still behind a camera. At first, all was quiet. Then came the hollow knocking of an actress’ boots on the dock, and seagulls crying, and water lapping at the trestles. Suddenly, everything seemed quite loud: A nail gun; a truck in reverse; a plane overhead. “Cut,” Brunner-Sung called. She wore stiff jeans, leather boots with cowboy heels and an old blue coat. Thick dark hair topped her lanky frame. “I liked that,” she said. “Let’s move on.” […]

Read the full text of the article here.

After a successful series of screenings in the first half of the year, the Big Sky Film Series is looking to end with a number of interesting takes on the pop-culture world we find ourselves living in everyday.

The films, each one of them free to attend for the public, range in focus from a look at the life and times of punk powerhouses The Ramones to an intimate portrait piece of Jerry Seinfeld.

Situated at the iconic (and remodeled) Top Hat Lounge every Monday night, the final line up for 2013 promises to have the Big Sky Film Series ending on a high note.

Nov 25 –END OF THE CENTURY (2003)
One of the most beloved and influential bands at the leading edge of the punk scene of the 1970s, the Ramones hardly need an introduction. END OF THE CENTURY, named after the 1980 Phil Spector-produced Ramones album, is an exhaustive and no-holds-bared dive into one of the most compelling bands in history. Take Johnny Ramone’s word for it: “It’s a very dark movie. It’s accurate. It left me disturbed.”

Dec 2 – DOWNLOADED (2013)
A study of perhaps the biggest game-changer in music-consumption history, DOWNLOADED takes aim at the advent of Napster, its founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, and the digital-sharing revolution of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Featuring interviews with a star-studded lineup of musicians and music-industry titans, the New York Times calls it “a fascinating story about how college students harnessed the Internet to enable people to trade favorite songs, and how a blindsided music industry, ignorant of the Web’s potential, effectively shut them down.”

Dec 9 – JOY DIVISION (2007)
Who’s to know the heights British post-punk band Joy Division may have reached, were it not for epileptic lead singer Ian Curtis’ suicide on the eve of the band’s first American tour in 1980. JOY DIVISION is British filmmaker Grant Gee’s immersive portrait of the band and of the late-70s scene in Manchester, England, the town from whence they sprang.

A tale so wild and strange it could have been a first-class mockumentary save for the fact it’s all true, ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL tracks the most legendary metal band to never make it big, as the aging Canadian rockers record their 13th album and take one last shot at the brass ring. Called “the greatest movie ever made about rock ‘n’ roll” by The London Times and “the most stirring release of the year” by The New Yorker, this is one movie true rock fans can’t afford to miss.

Dec 23 – TBD

Dec 30 – COMEDIAN (2002)
Fresh off the most insanely successful sitcom in the history of the universe, Jerry Seinfeld went back to stand-up comedy in the late 90’s. Directed by Christian Charles, COMEDIAN is a comprehensive look not only at Seinfeld’s subsequent international comedy tour but also at the struggles and self-doubt that lurk behind even the most famous comedians in the world.

Top Hat Lounge

Big Sky Film Institute
(406) 541-3456
e-mail the series

(HELENA)- The Montana Film Office Announces the arrival of  “Bridegroom” to Montana communities next week.

Read the rest of the release […]

MAPSThe Montana Film Office congratulates Peter Rosten, a Montana filmmaker and educator, who was selected to receive a Purpose Prize and join 42 other Americans recognized as 2013 Purpose Prize fellows.

The Purpose Prize honors Americans 60 and older who excel in the fields of social entrepreneurship and creative problem solving. Rosten was selected from a pool of 1,000 nominees and now stands as the second Montanan to be honored by the Purpose Prize.

Rosten, a resident of Darby, is the founder and president of the Media Arts in Public Schools or MAPS program in Ravalli County. Started in 2004, MAPS provides varied creative arts and media production classes to students in all five of the country school districts free of charge. Classes range from filmmaking and music composition to design and computer sciences.

The MAPS students are involved in creating real-world projects that are utilized by businesses and non-profits across the state. They most recently created PSAs for both the Montana Hope Project and the Bitterroot Youth homes.

“By combining our students’ arts education with the real world of business, MAPS provides an early window into the risks and rewards that await our pupils in the future,” said Rosten.

For more information on both Rosten and MAPS you may visit Rosten’s profile or the MAPS homepage.


Montana is ready to play host to the BANFF Mountain Film Tour once again.

The festival began in Great Falls earlier this month and will now head to Kalispell on November 12 and 13th.

Sponsored by the Flathead Nordic Backcountry Patrol, the tour will stop in at Flathead High school to screen this years films.

The tour consists of a selection of the films screened at the BANFF Mountain Film Festival that are selected specially for each stop the tour makes. From about 25 films licensed from the festival, the organizers work with the local sponsors to pick films that they believer will be well-received by the audience in their communities.

Screening the films is the largest fundraiser for the locally-based ski patrol, generating the funds for them to purchase search-and-rescue equipment and provide training to new members.

The series will screen at Flathead High School at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Flathead High School auditorium. Tickets are $14 and may be purchased at local vendors in the Flathead area. You can find a list of those retailers and more info about the festival at the BANFF Festival homepage.

(HELENA) – The Montana Film Office is excited to announce that critically-acclaimed documentary, “Bridegroom” from Montanan Shane Bitney Crone and director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (“Designing Women”) premieres on Netflix this week.

A former resident of the Flathead Valley, Shane moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduating where he and Tom Bridegroom began the entertainment company Bridegroom & Bitney. On the anniversary of Tom’s tragic death from an accident in 2011, Shane chronicled his grief in an online video tribute that spread virally and prompted mass support ultimately inspiring Bloodworth-Thomason to pursue the documentary[…]

Read the full release here.

(HELENA) – The Montana Film Office is excited to announce that critically-acclaimed documentary, “Bridegroom” from Montanan Shane Bitney Crone and director Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (“Designing Women”) premieres on Netflix this week.

Read the rest of the release […]

The Montana Film Office is proud to to be bringing Montana author Pete Fromm, screenwriter Virginia Spragg, and director Max Mayer to Missoula for a screening of the film adaptation of Fromm’s book, As Cool As I Am. The screening event is a benefit for Planned Parenthood of Montana, and the film office is sponsoring a panel following the film that will discuss the process of turning this Montana story into one for the big screen.

Fromm sat down recently with Erika Fredrickson at the Missoula Independent to discuss watching his work be translated for the screen, the filmmaking process, and more. You can read “Lucy in the Sky” on the Independent‘s site or read the archived article here.

As Cool As I Am screens at the MCT Center for Performing Arts Sat., Oct. 26. The benefit begins with a reception at 6 PM featuring music by Baby & Bukowski, followed by the screening and panel discussion at 7. $50–$75. Call 830-3483 for tickets and info.

The Montana Film Office is proud to announce that a Montanan-hosted workshop is offering a chance to work with world-class commercial model Aaron Marcus. Appearing in over 1,193 projects from The West Wing to The Wire to commercials for Disney World, Aaron is headed to the Big Sky to offer advice and guidance to aspiring commercial and film actors. Booked for over 1,200 workshops to share his expertise and knowledge in this competitive industry, this event is an excellent opportunity for aspiring and experienced commercial models alike.

Saturday, November 9th, he will be teaching from his own experiences and from his book, How to Become a Successful Commercial Model. Attendees will learn things like preparing and creating an amazing head shot, creating a great resume (even with little or no experience), and what agents, casting directors, and others will expect from you as talent.

For more information see the full release from Creative World here or read more about his experiences at

For registration or more information contact:
Karla Johnson
Creative World

When: Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time: 10:00-5:00

Where: Hilton Garden Inn, in Treasure State, Salon A room, 2465 Grant Road, Billings, MT

Cost: $150 if booked by October 24th. After October 24th – $175

(Missoula, MT) – The Big Sky Film Institute and the Top Hat Lounge are pleased to announce that the Big Sky Film Series, which has been running monthly at the Top Hat since May, will move to a weekly schedule beginning this fall. Additionally, the Top Hat Lounge will be an official Big Sky Documentary Film Festival screening and event venue during the entire 10-day festival in February 2014.

“The folks at Big Sky have done an incredible job curating films for the series, and attendance has been outstanding,” says Top Hat owner Nick Checota. “We’re extremely excited to expand those screenings to a weekly basis, and we couldn’t be happier about becoming a part of the festival.”

Read the full release here.

The Montana Film Office announced today that they would be altering the submission deadline for the Big Sky Film Grant. All new applications will be due by December 15, 2013. Deadlines will then fall on the fifteenth of every other month.

The updated grant application with new deadlines and a clarified Youtube grant proposal section may be found on the Forms and Guidelines page.

The full announcement may be read here.



(WEST GLACIER) –Glacier National Park is open and welcoming visitors after a 16-day Federal Government shutdown that closed all national parks across the country.

Approximately 250 park employees were furloughed during the shutdown. Approximately 20-30 park employees continued to work during the shutdown to manage the park closure and provide for protection of federal lands, waterways, buildings, equipment and other property owned within park.

Read the rest of the release here.

Yellowstone Sign(YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK) – The gates to the world’s first national park are open again after a 16 day closure.

Visitors are encouraged to return to the region to take advantage of the crisp fall weather and enjoy the last few weeks of the fall season.

Read the rest of the release.


Tina Buckingham
Film Montana

Montana Film Actor’s Studio Scheduled to Meet

The Montana Film Actor’s Studio will meet next Thursday, October 17th at Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot in downtown Bozeman, MT.  Introductions will begin at 6:30 and the meeting start promptly at 7:00 p.m.

Beginning its 7th season , the Montana Film Actor’s Studio provides hands-on experience, inspiration, education and insight into the film business from a uniquely Montanan perspective for for an actor (or the actor within). Based in Bozeman MAS provides monthly meetings in a fun and relaxed atmosphere where actors can network and socialize with other folks in the film community. The studio teaches acting for film and the business-side of film acting while focusing on increasing confidence and comfort in entering into the film industry.

The meeting includes instruction with casting director (and director of MAS) Tina Buckingham. Boasting nearly 40 years of experience  in film, Tina has primarily worked to find talent for feature films and commercials both in and outside Montana. Tina’s strategy teaches from the casting director’s point-of-view with scene-studies , cold reading, and video playback for critique. There are also opportunities for full-script reads and guest speakers.

The first meeting is free to try with family discounts and scholarships available for fees after that. After the first meeting membership is $100 a year. Fees cover the monthly meetings, emailed information, and links to updated film news and information sites. Additionally, members receive career advice and mentorship, contacts, and opportunities to be submitted for film and commercial auditions.

All ages are welcome and skill levels are welcome (members are generally 12 years old or order). For any additional information you can visit the Montana Actor’s Studio site or contact Tina with the above information.



(HELENA) – Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs announced today that the Montana Film Office stands ready to assist any productions shooting in Montana in finding alternative locations due to the closure of federal lands and parks.

“The film office hopes the issues surrounding the shutdown are resolved quickly,” explained Staggs, “but there are still plenty of great private and state managed properties that can give any production that signature Montana beauty. Our office stands ready to help productions or scout teams with any locations or permitting assistance they may need during this federal shutdown.”

The shutdown of nationally managed lands and parks has led to closures in-state including:

  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
  • Big Hole National Battlefield
  • Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center
  • Pompey’s Pillar National Monument Interpretive Center
  • Fort Peck Interpretive Center
  • National Bison Range
  • All federally-managed wildlife refuges
  • All campgrounds and recreation sites on public lands managed by BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

While this list is not exhaustive, the Montana Film Office is closely watching other areas that could be affected and can provide that information upon request.

The thousands of alternate locations that Montana has to offer may be found at: “Even with the closure of some of the amazing sites we have to offer,” said Staggs, “from the mountains of the west to the plains in the east we have plenty of ultimate locations that are still open for business.”

For any questions regarding permitting, locations, or productions in Montana contact the Montana Film Office at or 1.800.553.4563.

Download the release here.

The Montana Film Office is pleased to announce its attendance and sponsorship of HATCH experience this week in Bozeman. Created by Chisel Industries owner, Yarrow Kraner, HATCH is a uniquely Montanan brand of creative alchemy combining elements of education, invention and development.

Read the rest of the release here […]

As the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest comes upon their second year and they are now collecting entries for the January 24th film festival.

Created from a desire to provide the Montana community with artistic events and activities on a year-round basis, the Flathead Lake Cinemafest seeks to provide a fresh, new platform for Montana (and other) filmmakers to showcase their passion on the big screen.

Categories for the festival include: films less than 30 minutes, films longer than 30 minutes, and FLIC Jr.

FLIC Jr. is a category for entrants who are 18 years old and younger. Their films will be judged by a panel of experts and eligible for “Best Of” awards in several categories.

For more information on the Cinemafest, to see 2013 winners and awards, or enter your film you may contact them through their site or via phone: 406.274.0181

Submission Information:

Films less than 30 minutes – $25.00 ($20.00 through WithoutABox)
Films 30 minutes and above – $35.00 ($30.00 through WithoutABox)
FLIC Jr. entries – $10.00 ($5.00 through WithoutABox)

WithoutABox submission form here and FLIC site submission form here.

All films after submitted after September 30 will have a 10.00 fee added. No film submissions will be accepted after the late entry date of October 31, 2013 with the exception of film submissions for FLIC Jr. whose last day for submissions is December 1, 2013.

Film Office, UM to offer film crew training

Montana is a beautiful place to film, but productions looking to shoot in the Big Sky State look beyond breathtaking mountain vistas and charming Western towns when considering their shooting location needs. An experienced, educated local film crew base weighs heavily in their ultimate location decision. To further develop Montana’s local film crew talent, the Montana Film Office and the University of Montana College of Visual and Performing Arts have teamed up to offer P.A. Bootcamp, a two-day production assistance crash course for aspiring film crew members, on Sept. 22 and 23 at The University of Montana campus in Missoula.

Read the full article here. (page 7)


Crash course to be on film crew

The Montana Film Office and the University of Montana College of Visual and Performing Arts have teamed up to offer P.A. Bootcamp, a two-day production assistance crash course for aspiring film crew members, on Sept. 22 and 23 at The University of Montana campus in Missoula.

“Continued development of our Montana crew base is a critical component to attracting film, television and commercial productions to the state,” said Deny Staggs, Montana Film Office location coordinator. “After inquiring about our tax incentives, the number one question that producers ask is, ‘do we have an experienced crew?’ Without a continued effort to develop and train our resident crew workforce, Montana will fall behind other states in attracting productions, potentially losing millions in annual cash inflow and tax revenue.”

Read the rest of the article here. (page 4)


UM, Montana Film Office partner with L.A. firm to lure productions to state

September 17, 2012 6:23 am • By MARTIN KIDSTON Missoulian

MISSOULA — Train them, and the movie cameras will come.

That’s the thinking behind a new initiative between the Montana Film Office and the University of Montana, which have teamed up with a California firm to help train students as production assistants.

Deny Staggs, Montana Film Office location coordinator, said the state’s collaboration with Quixote, of Los Angeles, aims to build a talented pool of film hands in Montana to help lure more television, film and commercial productions to the state.

Read the full article here.


UM, Montana Film Office join with L.A. firm to lure movies

September 17, 2012 7:00 am • By MARTIN KIDSTON of the Missoulian

Train them, and the movie cameras will come.

That’s the thinking behind a new initiative between the Montana Film Office and the University of Montana, which have teamed up with a California firm to help train students as production assistants.

Deny Staggs, Montana Film Office location coordinator, said the state’s collaboration with Quixote, of Los Angeles, aims to build a talented pool of film hands in Montana to help lure more television, film and commercial productions to the state.

Read the full article here.


The Montana Film Office is happy to report that Montana crew member and film community mentor, Tina Buckingham, has announced a special introductory meeting for her group The Montana Film Actor’s Studio. Located in Bozeman, the MAS provides both support and development opportunities for actors in the state of Montana. With years of casting experience and a passion for the world of film, Tina and MAS are dedicated to showcasing the talent Montana has to offer. See the full release below.


Montana Film Actor’s Studio Introductory Meeting

For more information contact:

Tina Buckingham


For the actor (or the actor within) Montana Film Actor’s Studio in Bozeman provides monthly meetings in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. We teach acting for film and the business of film acting with a little life-coaching thrown in for your self-esteem.

Now beginning its 7th season, members of the studio get hands-on experience, inspiration, education and insight into the film business in and from Montana. It’s also a place to network and socialize with other actors and filmmakers.

Meetings include instruction with Casting Director (and director of MAS) Tina Buckingham who boasts almost 40 years in the business. Her primary job has been to find talent for feature films and commercials, and she has worked on many of the movies filmed in Montana. She teaches from the Casting Director’s point-of-view. Most meetings include scene-study and cold reading with video playback for critique. In addition we have other opportunities including guest speakers and table readings of full film scripts.

There will be a special introductory meeting on Wednesday, September 25th from 5:30 to 6:30 in the small meeting room of the Bozeman Public Library, followed by the 1st monthly meeting of the new year from 7:00-9:00.

The first meeting is free to try. Family discounts and scholarships are available.  Included in the membership fee are the monthly meetings, emailed information and links to film news and sites. Additionally, you will receive career advice and mentorship, contacts, and opportunity to be submitted for film and commercial auditions.

Membership is just $100/year. We encompass all ages and varying career levels but the general membership is 12 and over. The Studio is dedicated to discovering new talent, polishing talent and showcasing talent.


It’s part “Super Moose”, part vampire, a little furry and ALL Montanan.

Montana-based production company Grizzly Creek Films is happy to announce the next run of their outdoor adventure series, “America the Wild with Casey Anderson”. Following fifth-generation Montanan and outdoorsman Casey Anderson, “America the Wild” takes audiences across North America in pursuit of some of the most raw and authentic wildlife experiences out there.

This season follows Anderson from the coldest reaches of the Canadian west coast to the deepest mires of the Florida everglades as he looks to bring some of Americas most dangerous animals to National Geographic WILD. Anderson will follow an aggressive wolf pack, match wits with the deadly mountain lion, infiltrate herds of giant moose, and head deep into the Yellowstone night to track a wild grizzly.

Anderson and Grizzly Creek Films have been involved in the production of “America the Wild” for four consecutive years and continue to connect audiences with the real wilderness of the North American continent. With 17 years of experience in film and television production, Anderson uses his expertise as a wildlife naturalist and animal trainer to capture authentic moments with the Grizzly Creek team.

“America the Wild with Casey Anderson” will premiere Sunday, August 18th, at 10 p.m. EST / 8 p.m. MST on Nat Geo WILD. Find local airtimes and channels at

For more information on the series run read GCF’s press release or contact them directly.



There are dozens of projects out there looking to tell stories about, in, and from Montana. Here are few that have crossed the MFO desks and are worth noting:

TOIVThings of Intrinsic Worth by Carly Calhoun & Sam Despeaux

“McRae family settled in southeastern Montana among the sandstone bluffs and fields of prairie grass in the 1880’s because it was a good place to raise cattle. There was plenty of clean water from the Rosebud Creek and the Tongue River that flowed through the unspoiled Tongue River Valley. Wally McRae and his son Clint continue the family tradition, raising cattle in the same unspoiled valley as their grandfathers and great-grandfathers did before. The McRaes are deeply devoted to this land and they carry on a tradition here of living by certain core principles: Protect and respect land and water. Help your neighbors and community. Live your life not solely to make profits. Make decisions knowing that the effects of your actions will be passed on to the next generation. Forces that lie in direct contrast to these principles are now threatening the McRaes and their neighbors, the American West, and the future of the climate.

Things of Intrinsic Worth follows the McRaes as they struggle to save their ranch and the Tongue River Valley amidst the encroaching forces of coal production. The McRae’s ranch sits in the epicenter of a battle over the power of corporations, government’s role in protecting citizens and the environment, and the future of the climate. The film weaves together a story that travels from the grasslands of Montana, to the Pacific Northwest, to energy hungry Asia.”

– Excerpt from the “Things of Intrinsic Worth” Kickstarter page


 WalterWalter by Hunter Weeks

WALTER was inspired by a visit to Walter Breuning, the oldest living man in the world at the time. He was 113 years old. A year later, Hunter Weeks and Sarah Hall set out to tell his story along with that of several living Supercentenarians by exploring their major contributions to the world and their personal philosophies on how they were able to make it past the 110 mark. Their journey helps capture the stories of the last few people born in the late 1800s. This movie celebrates life and will help people think differently about their personal timeline differently. Everyone has the chance to become the oldest living person in the world, which Guinness World Records recognizes as an official World Record.

– Excerpt from the “Walter” Kickstarter page



Docu_Stripped_Logo-300x150“Stripped” by Melissa Bring and Fleur Phillips

Spending four weeks in Montana visiting different strip-clubs in Montana, “Stripped” looks to capture the lives of the women involved in the expanding and shadowed strip-club industry. The project creators, Melissa Bring and Fleur Phillips, hope to use the multimedia pieces of their project to allow the dancers to be seen in a way that exposes them as the people they are and not mere the jobs they do.

In addition to the film, the project will be producing a book project with interviews of each of the women featured and photography complimenting the film portion. The book will act as another layer and informational companion to the feature length video documentary.

“We live in a country where either gender is said to have equal rights in the work place. Activists have fought diligently for decades to win equivalent respect and wages. In the land of opportunity, what instigates young women to pursue exotic dancing? Even more fascinating is the mindset of the “Middle-American” stripper.”

– excerpt from “Stripped” documentary website

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Arnold Schwarzenegger on Montana fire lines filming documentary on climate change

MISSOULA, Montana — Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is out on the fire lines in western Montana filming a documentary on climate change.

Fire Information Officer Nancy Guerrero says a film crew is profiling the Snake River Hotshots as they work on the lines of the 9.6-square-mile West Mullan Fire burning north of the town of Superior. Members of the National Interagency Fire Center are also on hand.

Schwarzenegger had breakfast with the fire crews Monday morning before heading out to the lines.

KECI-TV reports ( Schwarzenegger is the executive producer of the documentary, which is looking at climate change and how it impacts the fire season. It is scheduled to be aired on Showtime.

The Snake River Hotshots are based in Pocatello, Idaho.


Montana-based film debuts in Missoula

MISSOULA – The red carpet was rolled out over the weekend for the premiere of Winter in the Blood.

The film, which was shot in north central Montana in 2011, is the project of Montana natives and brothers Alex and Andrew Smith.

Tickets for the Saturday showings had been sold out all week for the special in state premiere.

The Roxy Theater, where it was shown, is a non-profit theatre that shows new and classic films.

Mary Plumage says she came to see the film because the book is based where she grew up.

“There are a lot of family names that I know from over there from the book like Lame bull that we’re excited to see in the film. Just to see a lot of past ancestors to see how the film turns out,” she explained.

The Roxy Theatre presents screenings of new and classic films from around the world each week, starting on Aug. 2.


For lead actor, long wait worth it for ‘Winter in the Blood’

Courtesy of ‘Winter in the Blood’

by Cory Walsh | July 21, 2013

If it felt like a long wait to finally see “Winter in the Blood” at its Montana premiere Saturday in Missoula, imagine how Chaske Spencer feels.

The lead actor was attached to the project for upward of a year before filming began on the Smith brothers’ independent adaptation of the late James Welch’s novel.

“The research was done, I did all my homework. I was just waiting to shoot,” Spencer said in a phone interview ahead of his trip to Missoula. “I felt like a racer, because you’re already on the starting point, just waiting for the gun. So I was ready to go.”

Spencer plays the lead role of Virgil First Raise, a man searching for an heirloom gun, his estranged wife and reconciliation with his past on a Montana Indian reservation. Spencer, best known as the werewolf Sam in “Twilight,” says he signed on because it’s a type of role he hadn’t been able to play yet.

“As an actor, I just thought the character was very rich,” he said.

Read the full article here.


Deep thaw: From book to screen, Winter in the Blood finds its way home


Courtesy of Missoula Independent

by Nick Davis | July 18, 2013

Back in 2002, Alex and Andrew Smith were riding a wave of good fortune, creative vision and hard work. The Missoula-raised writer-director twin brothers, sons of noted local author and documentarian Annick Smith, had just released their first feature film, The Slaughter Rule, to high critical acclaim.

Over the next five years, they worked on a half-dozen film scripts covering an array of genres and formats, but the initial green lights on every one of those projects eventually turned red. Frustrated, they began thinking about following their hearts back to Montana, to the landscape that had birthed The Slaughter Rule. That quest ultimately led them to Winter in the Blood, the first novel from James Welch.

Read the full article here.


Much-anticipated film “Winter in the Blood” has its Montana premiere this weekend in Missoula


Photo by Ken Billington


The new Montana-made film “Winter in the Blood” received a warm reception at its recent premiere at the Los Angeles film festival, and will have its Montana premiere this Saturday evening in Missoula. The film is based on the acclaimed novel by the late Montana author James Welch – who was a family friend of the film’s directors, brothers Alex and Andrew Smith. Both the novel and the movie give a harsh but authentic portrait of growing up on Montana’s Blackfeet reservation and the hi-line, where it was filmed. In this feature interview, News Director Sally Mauk talks with Alex and Andrew Smith about their desire to make the film as true to the novel as possible.

Listen to the interview at


‘Winter in the Blood’ film debuts, stays Montana-true, powerful

A new star has appeared on the horizon in the form of actor Chaske Spencer, lead actor in “Winter in the Blood,” an independent film that made its home-state debut recently at a packed but intimate screening at The Roxy Theater in Missoula.

Spencer stars for Missoula siblings Alex Smith and Andrew J. Smith, who stay true to the late James Welch’s acclaimed 1974 novel about a sensitive young man coming to terms with tough living conditions and alcohol-fueled coping strategies on the Fort Belknap Reservation.

Spencer’s heritage includes Lakota Sioux, Nez Perce, Cherokee, Creek, French and Dutch. He grew up in Idaho and Montana and has played key roles in the Twilight series, “Skins,” “Dreamkeeper” and “Into the West.”

A true hunk in every sense of the word, the tall, dark, muscular Spencer can flat-out act, especially when words are not necessary to carry a scene.

Through a series of flashbacks to his childhood and discovery of his father’s frozen, drunken body in a snow bank, Spencer, as Virgil First Raise, tries to makes sense of losing several family members. But that’s merely a piece of his heart-wrenching puzzle.

Read the full article here.


1-Minute Missoula doesn’t charge admission. They let you bring your own concessions. And their air conditioning is fueled by Mother Nature herself.

With so many diverse and creative events taking place in our film community, the Montana Film Office is always delighted to see innovative opportunities from Montanans like 1-Minute Missoula festival creator Amy Stout.

Originally started as an MFA thesis project for Stout, 1-Minute Missoula was introduced to give Missoulians a chance to tap into their own unique talents and vision and project those on to the screen. The festival encourages its entrants to use any and all available technology, develop new skills, and reach out to members of their community to create short digital films.

After three years, the festival is still true to its roots as many of the films are DIY from around the local community. However, Stout has been seeing entries from neighboring communities like Portland and even from as far away as Serbia and the UK.

Selected films are screened on an abutment on the south side of the Higgins Street Bridge off the Hip Strip in downtown Missoula. While there aren’t prizes or even entry fees yet, the festival is hopeful that with continued audience participation and interest such things aren’t far in the future.

Stout says that most entries don’t come from professional filmmakers. In fact the films, which run the gambit from minute long clips shot on a phone to media arts projects to narrative and animation productions, come from a variety of skill levels and sources.

A change this year for 1-Minute is the partnership with the Missoula Fringe Festival, a three day celebration of alternative and performance theater all across the city. Billing itself as an “avenue to showcase bold, fresh, and original” works, Fringe Fest is the perfect fit for 1-Minute Missoula filmmakers and their audience.

Supported by volunteers and businesses around Missoula, the festival is a distinct voice and a welcome place for many different elements of the Montana film community to come together, one minute at a time.

For more information or to become involved with the festival, contact Amy Stout.


Submission deadline:

Wednesday, August 14 2013


Friday, August 16, 9:00 p.m., under the Higgins Street Bridge – south side of the Clark Fork River in the parking lot between the Missoulian and the Boone and Crockett Club



Amy Stout / 406.425.3573 /


thrashlab-58_600ThrashLab, Ashton Kutcher’s Youtube channel, is looking for original videos from around the country to compete for prizes up to $15,000.

If you’re a filmmaker, editor or artist who has a never-before-seen video with original content, then you can enter to be one of 350 winners to be featured on the Thrashlab channel!

ThashLab is one of only 100 channels given to Hollywood production companies, celebrities and media outlets. The channel is focused on bringing serious exposure of new artists to a mainstream audience.

– Submission must be original content, never posted anywhere and you must hold the rights to all pieces of the submission (art, music, logos, etc.)
– Entries are due by AUGUST 15th

Find additional rules and submission information on the announcement or at the contest website.


Directors and principal cast members to attend screenings at Roxy Theater in Missoula, July 20.  

July 9, 2013 — Helena, Mont. — After a stellar debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, “Winter in the Blood” the Montana Film Office is proud to annouce the Montana-made film’s return home to premiere with the state’s first audiences. Joined by cast members including lead actor Chaske Spencer and Montana’s own Lily Gladstone, the Smith brothers will present the Montana premiere of “Winter in the Blood” at Missoula’s newly remodeled Roxy Theater on Saturday, July 20 at 5 & 7:30 p.m.

Advance tickets for the screenings go on sale Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m. at Any remaining tickets will be available on the day of the screenings at the Roxy Theater box office.

Read more here…

'Winter in the Blood' set photoBringing Hollywood to Montana

Selling Montana’s scenery is what Deny Staggs does best.

As film commissioner for the Montana Film Office, Staggs works hard at bringing filmmakers to the Big Sky state. Once they visit here, Montana usually makes the short-list for film locations, he said. Those of us lucky enough to live here already know that our famously wide, blue skies and snow-capped mountains are worth the cold winters, smoky summers and low wages.

Now Staggs and his crew can keep up with other rural states and countries that offer incentives and grants to lure filmmakers. In addition to tax incentives, the Montana Film Office is now offering the Big Sky Film Grant to resident filmmakers who shoot half of their film here using local crew and cast and national filmmakers who shoot 50 percent of the film here or spend $300,000 or more in Montana.

Grants range from $5 to $50,000. This is a boost for Montana because it brings jobs and a chance for our 15 minutes of fame — even if it’s just seeing Montana’s landscape on the big screen. I, for one, am excited to see shots of Montana Avenue, the bus station, and other sites around Billings in November when the film “Nebraska” opens wide. Now-retired jailer Dennis McCave plays a deputy in the film, and Billings actor Jayme Green and Billings woman Carissa Klarich also got some screen time. Lead actor Bruce Dern took home one of the most prestigious prizes at Cannes Film Festival this spring, the Best Actor Award for his work in “Nebraska.”

Staggs was in L.A. last weekend promoting the three-year grant at the Los Angeles Film Festival, which is where the Montana-made film, “Winter in the Blood,” was screened.

“We’ve been working really hard at getting our story out,” Staggs said. “We call it ultimate locations, ultimate results. The quality of their production goes up because our crews and services cost them less. So more of their money that is spent goes on the screen.”

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Jaci Webb of the Billings Gazette.

Dana Wheeler-Nicholson and Chaske Spencer (of Twilight Saga fame) star in Winter in the BloodWinter In The Blood
Filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith return to Montana for their adaptation of James Welch’s novel about modern American Indian life.

Montana’s Hi-Line, a horizontal strip of speed traps, bars, and post offices, runs 650 miles through badlands and Missouri River country, tracking U.S. Highway 2 and the Great Northern rail bed from Glacier National Park to the North Dakota border. While at times picturesque, the landscape is often a lesson in sparseness, as Lily Gladstone can attest.

“It’s [a] very hollow feeling,” the Blackfeet/Nez Perce actor says, recalling her time in Chinook, Montana, in the north-central part of the state. “But also very beautiful.”

Gladstone was there to shoot her scenes in Winter in the Blood, a film based on the haunting novel by the same name, which premieres June 14 and 19 at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Written by celebrated Native American author and Montana native James Welch, the story is a semiautobiographical portrait of a wayward man who wanders the Hi-Line while trying to come to grips with a childhood ranching accident. Throughout, the man confronts characters like Gladstone’s, who are just like the landscape: hollow but beautiful. “It’s a perfect anal­ogy,” she says.

Since filming wrapped in January 2012, countless whiskey toasts have been raised in Montana to film­makers Alex and Andrew Smith for eschewing conventional wisdom and shooting the film on location in Chinook and Havre, Montana. In a state often frustrated by its one-­dimensional treatment as ­either a pastoral playground for Marlboro-smoking cowboys or a fishing escape for the well-heeled, the excitement is palpable that Winter in the Blood will tell America a truly Montanan story.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Daniel Person of Cowboys & Indians Magazine. Photo by Ranchwater Films/Ken Billington.

Grants entice filming in Montana

Montana has always looked good on camera but recently local communities are beginning to see the film industry in the same light thanks to a new grant aimed at encouraging in-state productions.

“The economic impact is incredible,” Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs said. “We are talking jobs here.”

Created in partnership between the state film office and Department of Commerce, the Big Sky Film Grant provides cash incentives of up to $50,000 for qualifying projects. Staggs said the fund pulls money from the state tourism tax pool and puts it toward encouraging film productions to grace local communities with an influx of business and employment.

Ventures can range from small-scale senior thesis videos to major motion pictures, as long as they employ resident crews and shoot 50 percent of their principle photography in Montana. Stipulations also require that visiting projects spend over $300,000 in the state, a mark which big productions have no trouble meeting.

Staggs cited the recent movie “Jimmy Picard” starring Oscar-winning actor Benicio Del Toro, which dropped nearly $400,000 while filming around the towns of Browning and Cut Bank.

“That’s a lot of money in those communities,” Staggs said.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Brett Berntsen for the Missoulian.

on the set of 'Winter in the Blood'L.A. Film Fest Review: ‘Winter In The Blood’

It’s been over a decade since twin brothers Alex and Andrew Smith’s film “The Slaughter Rule,” starring Ryan Gosling, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002, and their follow up film, “Winter in the Blood” returns them to their home state of Montana, this time focusing on a young and troubled Blackfoot Indian, Virgil First Raise (Chaske Spencer). Things aren’t going so well for Virgil— he’s developed a hell of a drinking habit (he wakes up in a ditch) and his wife Agnes (Julia Jones) has left him and taken his rifle and electric razor (probably to pawn for a drink). He lives on a ranch with his mother and grandmother, but he’s wayward, aimless, motivated only by where he might find his next drink and how he might get his father’s rifle back.

“Winter in the Blood” aligns the audience heavily with Virgil’s troubled mind, combining the present day with flashes of memory and his own alcohol-induced collapse and confusion of time. One stylistic device used throughout the film are dissolves that show Virgil’s passage through time and space, unifying the present and the memory together in the frame. During his benders, quick flashes of imagery from the night before, as he wakes up in a state of undress and unsure of where he is, perfectly recreate that process of remembering what happened last night. The film seeks to visualize his internal thought processes, so you’re never quite sure what is real and what isn’t because Virgil isn’t so sure of that himself.

Virgil is soon thrown off his original goal of getting back his wife, who seems to exist only in memory or fantasy, when he encounters a wacky, wild white man, played by David Morse and going only by the nickname of Airplane Man. Virgil’s encounters with Airplane Man have a Coen Brothers meets David Lynch sensibility, mixing bizarre characters, humor and surreality. For a moment, you may even wonder if Airplane Man is a figment of Virgil’s imagination, because we’ve been so steeped in the purgatory of real life and memory/fantasy. And Virgil isn’t the most reliable of perspectives to hang on to. Airplane Man gets him involved in a border crossing drug smuggling (possibly?) scheme. They’re also being pursued by two menacing suited characters straight out of “Mulholland Drive.” But Virgil, though hapless and incompetent most of the time, manages to wriggle his way out of the situation and into the fist of his romantic rival. It’s clear he’s seeking, something, anything, but he just isn’t sure just what.

The film is artfully and skillfully made, with stunningly gorgeous cinematography of Montana’s High Line, and pitch perfect, highly detailed ’60s era production design. The score is beautiful, evocative and moody, and the performances (particularly by the Native American actors) feel authentic and lived in. Where the film suffers, though, is in its storytelling.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Katie Walsh of IndieWire.

on the set of 'Winter in the Blood'L.A. Film Fest: ‘Winter in the Blood’ depicts life on reservation

ilmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith were thrilled but stressed Thursday afternoon as the debut of their passion project, “Winter in the Blood,” about life on an Indian reservation, rapidly approached.

The Montana natives were close family friends with James Welch, the author of the novel on which the book was based, and sought to bring Welch’s words to life in the best way they knew how.

After filming on the Montana Hi-Line on a budget that they raised themselves by all manner of grass-roots fundraising — from readings and concerts to T-shirt sales and a Kickstarter campaign — the product of their toils, a tribute to Welch’s work, came to life.

“He [Welch] gave a unique perspective. No one had seen the first-hand dispatches from the front,” Andrew Smith said. “We wanted to try and capture that.”

The Smiths’ first film, the Sundance hit “The Slaughter Rule,” starring Ryan Gosling, was also shot on the Hi-Line, the northern part of Montana that is adjacent to U.S. Highway 2. Their mother, writer Annick Smith, co-edited (with William Kittredge) the renowned anthology of Montana writing “The Last Best Place.”

Though filming in Canada promised greater financial incentives, the Smiths were drawn to Montana, the novel’s setting.

“Montana just called us back,” Andrew said.

The film, based on the novel by Welch, tells the story of a nameless young Native American man who struggles with his heritage and his life. In the film, this character, Virgil, feels “as distant from myself as a hawk from the moon,” “Winter” is a story where not a lot happens but everything is revealed.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Dana Ferguson of the LA Times. Photo by Patricia Williams/For the News.

Directed by brothers Alex and Andrew Smith, pic stars 'Twilight' thesp Chaske Spencer‘Winter in the Blood’ Makes Splash at Los Angeles Film Festival

The state of Montana touted its filmmaking prowess Friday at the Los Angeles Film Festival with the world premiere of ”Winter in the Blood,” from director brothers Alex and Andrew Smith.

Shot in 23 days in the northwest plains of the state, the adaptation of James Welch’s novel received $45,000 in grants from the state — or about 5% of its $1 million budget.

“We started working on this in 2007 and originally wanted to make it for $6 million but we had cut that in half and then cut it in half again and then half again and then cut some more,” Alex Smith reflected at the post-screening bash at White Rabbit Studios east of downtown.

“When we started, we were working on an assignment of adapting a not particularly good story — and ‘Winter in the Blood’ was what we really wanted to do, so we started cheating on the other one and this script really became our mistress,” he mused.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Dave McNary of Variety .

Montana will pay you cash to make a movie here

The Montana Film Office is in the middle of an exciting run. Two films made in Montana premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last month and Winter in the Blood, the much-anticipated adaptation of James Welch’s classic novel, premieres today at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

So, how does Montana entice all those filmmakers to come to our neck of the woods? Cash.

The L.A. Times noted as much in a “Business Behind the Show” story that ran in advance of the Winter in the Blood screening.

It’s not enough to offer tax rebates and credits to lure filmmakers. Now Montana has joined a handful of states offering outright cash to get Hollywood’s attention.

In addition to breathtaking mountain scenery and pristine wilderness, Montana is touting its Big Sky Film Grant, which provides up to $1 million in cash per fiscal year to Montana-based film and TV productions.

The article goes on to explain that Montana offers the funding quicker than most other state rebates, and the cash grants supplement “an existing refundable tax credit of 9% on production-related expenditures in Montana and 14% on spending for local crew and talent.”

To be clear, this is an example of spending money to make money — or, more specifically, create jobs in the state. A film production requires tons of labor, from on-set to catering.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Skylar Browning of the Missoula Independent.

David Morse and Chaske Spencer‘Winter in the Blood’
Movie adaptation of Welch novel debuts at film festival in LA

In many ways, the new film “Winter in the Blood” is a love story to Montana.

Based on a book written by a Montanan, adapted for the screen and filmed by twins from Montana, it features actors from the region and is shot exclusively in the state. The DVD may as well have a Made In Montana sticker included with it.

Montana movie buffs will have to wait a little longer to see the result, however, as folks in Los Angeles will get a first look at the Big Sky Country product. “Winter in the Blood” premieres this week at the Los Angeles Film Festival, and its creators, Alex and Andrew Smith, couldn’t be happier.

“It’s very exciting. I’m really proud and pleased to have the world premiere there,” said Alex in an interview with the Tribune from his home in Austin, Texas. “It’s nice to bring it back to Los Angeles. We made this one so outside of that arena that it’s nice to be able to merge our two worlds at one festival.

“This film is going to take its own path, different from other films we’ve made,” Andrew added. “This (festival) is a wonderful place to start that journey.”

Click here for a PDF of the full article from the Great Falls Tribune by Patrick Douglas. Photo by Kenneth Billington.

Set of Winter in the BloodMontana offers cash grants to lure more movie, TV shoots

It’s not enough to offer tax rebates and credits to lure filmmakers. Now Montana has joined a handful of states offering outright cash to get Hollywood’s attention.

In addition to breathtaking mountain scenery and pristine wilderness, Montana is touting its Big Sky Film Grant, which provides up to $1 million in cash per fiscal year to Montana-based film and TV productions.

The program, which launched earlier this year, targets feature-length films and television series that shoot at least 50% of principal photography in Montana.

Eligible projects receive funds 30 to 60 days after shooting wraps, far sooner than most traditional state film rebates and tax credit programs.

The cash grant supplements an existing refundable tax credit of 9% on production-related expenditures in Montana and 14% on spending for local crew and talent.

Over the years, the Big Sky State has drawn some high-profile movies, including “A River Runs Through it,” “The Horse Whisperer” and “Far and Away.” Now Montana is hungry for more.

“It is our goal with the Big Sky Film Grant to offer Montana’s one-of-a-kind places and production talent to filmmakers,” Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs said in a statement.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Richard Verrierm of the LA Times.

Robert Redford photo by Jay MallinA River of Cash Runs Through It

While some states are debating whether they should have film tax incentives at all, others are starting to offer cold, hard cash to attract Hollywood production. Montana just joined the ranks of those offering cash benefits to filmmakers.

The state of Montana is now awarding the Big Sky Film Grant, which will provide up to $1 million in cash per fiscal year to Montana-based film and TV productions. In order to qualify, the feature film or TV show will have to shoot at least 50% of its principal photography in the state. Projects that qualify will receive funds 30 to 60 days after shooting concludes, which is a much faster time window than most state film rebates and tax credit programs.

A million dollars spread among several productions doesn’t amount to a lot by Hollywood standards, but the state is using it as added bait for its refundable tax credit of 9% on production-related expenditures and 14% rebate on spending on local crew and talent. The cash grants that can be used to pay back investors quickly are appealing to filmmakers who have antsy financiers looking to get a quick return in order to finance the film.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Gina Hall of LA Biz. Photo by Jay Mallin.

photo by MICHAEL GALLACHER/Missoulian‘Mountain Men’ show helped Missoula production company expand

The growing crew of Warm Springs Productions will watch from a Rattlesnake Valley garage filled with burgers and beer Sunday when the History Channel debuts the second season of its hit reality series “Mountain Men.”

Millions of people tuned in last season when the show debuted, introducing the world to a set of appropriately grizzled self-proclaimed mountain men who live off the land, shooting arrows, hunting and skinning rattlesnakes or working their fields with horse-drawn plows.

Portions of the show put on display the marvels of the living off the grid in Big Sky country. One of the show’s stars is bull-rider-turned-hide-tanner Tom Oar of the Yaak Valley.

Season two will introduce Rich Lewis, a mountain lion hunter from the Ruby Valley who “always lived in the mountains and always had a gun in my hand.”

Behind the scenes of “Mountain Men” is a Montana-made production staff of Warms Springs.

The show is a breakout hit for Missoula-based company that was founded six years ago.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Jenna Cederberg of the Missoulian. Photo by Michael Gallacher/Missoulian.



Missoula animator seeks volunteer voices for WWI oral history

Andy Smetanka figures he’s about halfway done with the stop-motion animation on “And We Were Young,” his feature-length oral history of World War I.

Since he began work a year and a half ago, the Missoula silhouette artist has completed about 100 minutes of animation comprising about 120,000 shots.

For each of those shots, he positions a cutout silhouette over a colorful background, clicks the shutter on his 30-year-old Russian Super 8 camera, and repeats the process again. And again, and again.

It’s been a “long, dark night of animation” since November, he said.

But now he needs voices to narrate it. Mostly older voices that are scratchy, gravelly and reflective. He needs male voices, mostly, but women as well.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Cory Walsh of the Missoulian. Photo by Andy Smetanka.


Press_6-13_TangledTaleExploreBigSkyMontana made film is on a roll

BIG SKY – A Tangled Tale is an official selection for this year’s Annecy International Animation Film Festival, the most prestigious and longest running animation festival in the world. The short film will also screen at the Hamburg International Short Film Festival, Maui Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Shorts Fest, making June a very busy month for Big Sky-based director Corrie Francis Parks.

The film follows two fish hooked beneath the surface of a Montana river. As the two fish struggle, they realize that the very thing they are trying to escape is also what draws them together. The resulting romance is a tangled tale.

Parks, who will be traveling with the film to Europe, was recently awarded a Big Sky Festival Grant by the Montana Film Office to travel and promote the film at the festivals.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Tallen of Explore Big Sky.


Montana will pay you cash to make a movie here

The Montana Film Office is in the middle of an exciting run. Two films made in Montana premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last month and Winter in the Blood, the much-anticipated adaptation of James Welch’s classic novel, premieres today at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

So, how does Montana entice all those filmmakers to come to our neck of the woods? Cash.

The L.A. Times noted as much in a “Business Behind the Show” story that ran in advance of the Winter in the Blood screening.

“It’s not enough to offer tax rebates and credits to lure filmmakers. Now Montana has joined a handful of states offering outright cash to get Hollywood’s attention.

In addition to breathtaking mountain scenery and pristine wilderness, Montana is touting its Big Sky Film Grant, which provides up to $1 million in cash per fiscal year to Montana-based film and TV productions.”

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Skylar Browning of The Missoula Independent.


Press_6-13_GrantLocationGuideMontana launches Big Sky Film Grant as extra location filming incentive

Montana has launched an extra location filming incentive in the form of its Big Sky Film Grant. Qualifying productions can get up to 20% of their local expenditure back in cash within as little as 30 days after principal photography wraps.

The new programme is designed to attract features and TV productions to Montana, and has a fund worth a million dollars a year for the next three years. Eligible projects will shoot at least half of principal photography in-state and will spend USD300,000 locally.

“It is our goal with the Montana Big Sky Film Grant to offer Montana’s one-of-a-kind places and production talent to filmmakers,” Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs explained.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Nick Goudry of The Location Guide.


New Grant for Montana Filmmakers

By Allison Molin

A new grant is now available for filmmakers in Montana.

The Montana Film Office announced its new grant today, the Big Sky Film Grant. This new program aims to attract in-state film projects that will also help boost Montana’s economy.

Several grants have already been awarded this year and have helped productions meet tight budgets, and employ in-state cast and crew. The Montana Film Office estimates the total economic impact of one production getting a grant was $90,000.

“What this allows us to do is support our resident filmmakers and nurture them, as well as entice and bring in more feature film projects to the state of Montana, helping the economy grow,” Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs says.

To qualify for the grant, the project must shoot at least 50% of its principal photography in Montana and employ resident cast and crew. Filmmakers who apply can receive up to $50,000. The Big Sky Film Grant is a three year program set to expire in 2016.


Grant looks to draw filmmakers to Montana

HELENA – The Montana Film Office has launched a new program to attract more in-state film projects.

The Big Sky Film Grant gives cash to resident filmmakers shooting in Montana to help meet tight budgets and employ in-state cast and crew.

“The state provides the Big Sky Film Grant, and financial tax incentives, to help grow Montana’s economy by bringing in film and television and commercial production into the Big Sky,” explained Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs,

One of the films that has already benefited from the grant is “The Thin Line,” a feature-length comedy which was on location Whitefish in April and May.


Press_6-13_FilmsKUFM_DenyStaggsMade in Montana movies getting international exposure

Montana’s film industry has had a busy couple of years, with three feature films produced in the state.

Two of the films – “Nebraska” and “Jimmy P.” – were shown at the Cannes film festival held in May. The third –“Winter in the Blood” – will premiere at the Los Angeles film festival this Friday.

Film Commissioner Deny Staggs sat down with News Director Sally Mauk to talk about those films – and Montana’s growing film and television industry.

Listen to the interview at


Press_6-13_FilmmakerMissoulianFilmmaker finds avenues to audiences

Paige Williams is an award-winning documentary filmmaker several times over, having taken two of her films – “From Place to Place” and “Mississippi Queen” – to more than 70 film festivals, where they won eight awards between them.

Williams, a transplant from Mississippi who founded Porch Productions in Missoula in 2006, is dedicated to telling people’s stories.

“Mississippi” tells Williams’ own story of a gay woman with devout Christian parents who founded an ex-gay ministry.

“Place” follows three Montana kids as they strive to find their way and voice after growing up in the foster care system. Their journeys lead them to Washington, D.C., where they inspire systematic change as they share their stories.

“What I really get off on is telling people’s stories. In whatever form I can tell them, I will,” Williams said.

Click here for a PDF of the full article by Jenna Cederberg of the Missoulian. Photo by Hannah Perkins.


Press_6-13_DreamIsNowBillings-BobZellarSenior High school student featured in documentary about young undocumented immigrants

Jocelyn, a 17-year-old daughter of Mexican immigrants who settled in Billings 14 years ago, says she doesn’t like to think about the risk of deportation she and her family faces.

She is in the country legally, at least for the time being, but her parents, Sandra and Manuel, could be deported at any time.

“I try not to think about it,” Jocelyn said Wednesday, adding that her loved ones help her deal with the challenges she and her family face. “They know what’s going on, and it’s just a weight off my shoulders when I’m around them.”

Jocelyn, whose last name is being withheld to protect her family members’ identities, is among the young immigrants featured in “The Dream is Now,” a 30-minute documentary about challenges faced by young undocumented immigrants and their families.

Click here for the full article by Eddie Gregg of the Billings Gazette. Photo by Bob Zellar.

Exciting things are coming to the Northwest film community!

The Northwest Film Center is thrilled to announce Fresh Film Northwest 2013!

Formerly known as the Young People’s Film Festival, Fresh Film Northwest is a free-to-enter festival that celebrates the next generation of filmmakers by showcasing their work and distributing it around the region and beyond.

The festival seeks to give up-and-coming filmmakers recognition for their talent and engagement in the media arts. By forging partnerships with educators, youth-focused community partners, media arts programs and adult filmmakers from their communities, Fresh Film Northwest will generate audiences and circulate the outstanding work for a new generation of artists.

Submissions are open to filmmakers 13 to 19 years of age and have categories for both individual and group submissions. Selected films will be screened at the Whitsell Auditorium at the Portland Art Museum for a jury of film professionals and media arts educators. Selections will also live on the Fresh Film Northwest website all-year round.

Submissions are due by August 1, 2013.

For information on submissions, information on the festival, and to see past winners, be sure to check out the Fresh Film Northwest homepage!

Young Peoples Film Festival_heartaward Young Peoples Film Festival_CreativeAwardYoung Peoples Film Festival_integrativeaward

UnsungMontana film project “Unsung Heroes” is again looking for volunteer production assistants for their shoot this coming Saturday, June 23rd. The film is shooting in the North Hills located near Helena and would run from 11am until 3pm. The work will be on a voluntary basis and will not be paid, but any interested parties are welcome to join the team as they continue to shoot this summer.

PAs on the film would be helping with audio equipment, camera work (dependent on experience), script work, and working with the cast of the film.

Filmmaker Chris Hoffert and an all-volunteer cast and crew are working on the film to bring awareness to the struggles with PTSD that men and women in uniform face upon returning home.

Interested PAs should contact Chris through the production’s Facebook Page located here:

Are you looking to invest in some production gear?  Check out this expansive list of locally-owned production equipment for sale including video cameras, dollies, dolly track, accessories, sound equipment, etc. – Audio & Video Equipment List. If interested or if you have questions, please contact Tyson Vick at

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF) is searching for their new Festival Producer for the 2014 season.

Headed into it’s 11th year, BSDFF is the largest film event in Montana and one of the premiere venue for non-fiction film in the American West. Operating out of downtown Missoula, the 2013 festival drew an audience of 20,000 people and received nearly 1000 film entries from every corner of the globe. BDSFF offers one of the most unique settings for the premiere of new, non-fiction film work. Boasting over a hundred visiting artists, presenting an average of 140 non-fiction films at venues across Missoula, including the Crystal Theater, Top Hat Lounge, and the historic Wilma Theater, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is an event of truly Montanan proportions.

If you’re interested in applying to be the chief of operations and the public “face” of this dynamic gathering of filmmakers and film buffs, apply today!



CorrieMontana is home to every type of filmmaker there is, even animators! Montana-based director Corrie Francis Parks has been selected to show her short film “A Tangled Tale” at the Annecy International Film Festival.

Started in the 1960s, Annecy is the premiere animation festival in the world. Each year, the world’s best animators from across all genres meet to screen each other’s work, exchange ideas and celebrate the immense, fascinating world of animation.

Parks produced her film using sand on an illuminated light-box and captured each sand drawing with a digital camera. Through the process of creating “A Tangled Tale”, she created 4385 individual sand drawings.  “It’s a high-consequence form of animation, because there is no way to go back and make corrections. The forward momentum is what carries me through the long hours under the camera,” she explained.

After two years of dedicated work, a successful Kickstarter campaign, and music by Sundance Institute Fellow Mark Orton, Parks finished “A Tangled Tale”, an experience she insists was nothing short of “amazing”.

More information is available on Parks’ sand animation technique and the film itself on “A Tangled Tale” ‘s website.


Making of:

Join Corrie on:

Florence woman takes part in TV pilot for Animal Planet


Courtesy Photo

May 13, 2013 6:00 am • By Perry Backus

FLORENCE – In Montana, invasive species come with roots, scales or an occasional hard shell.

Go to Texas and the most challenging invasive species there comes with razor-sharp tusks that attack people, destroy farmland and cause serious road accidents. There are an estimated two million wild pigs in that state, running amok.

If you had to select a place in this country where invasive species are most likely to gain a foothold, it could well be in the sultry Florida Everglades. In that state, you’ll find 16-foot-long pythons capable of choking out a human being and giant snails that carry a deadly disease.

All of that is a long ways from the seemingly benign pine forests behind the home of Florence’s own Janna Waller.

The host of the popular program “Skull Bound TV,” Waller recently teamed with a crew from the Animal Planet channel to head south and learn about a variety of creatures that are causing all sorts of trouble for the people who live there.

Read the full article here.


Cannes to screen two Montana-made films


Courtesy of Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)


The Big Sky will appear on screens at the Cannes Film Festival, which runs May 15 – 26 this year, thanks to two films shot in Montana that star big Hollywood names.

The first, Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian), was shot in Browning and East Glacier in July 2012 and stars Benicio del Toro. It’s based on a nonfiction book by psychotherapist Georges Devereux’s experiences psychoanalyzing a Blackfeet man after World War II. Jimmy P. is the first English-language film from French director Arnaud Desplechin. A press release from the Montana Film Office says 125 Native American tribal members or descendants appear as extras. It also stars a few University of Montana professors, as we wrote about during filming last August.

Alexander Payne (Oscar-winning director whose resume includes The Descendants and Sideways) presents Nebraska, a drama about an “aging, booze-addled father” traveling from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son to claim a lotto prize. Scenes were shot around Billings and Laurel, and it stars Will Forte and Bruce Dern.


UM grads shooting feature film based on British prog rock album


Photo by James Riggs

May 31, 2013 6:30 am • By Cory Walsh

The filmmakers of “Subterranea” have cast western Montana’s documentary-friendly scenery against type, making it the setting of a psychological mystery drama with a hint of sci-fi.

The movie, in production right now, began as Mathew Miller and Brandon Woodard’s MFA thesis projects in the University of Montana’s Media Arts program.

Miller, a fan of British progressive rock band I.Q. and its 1997 concept album, “Subterranea,” began adapting it for film several years ago.

“I always knew it was very cinematic. It told a story from beginning to end,” said Miller, the film’s writer-director. After he had a script he was satisfied with, he sent it to the band and got the green light.

Read the full article here.


Wildlife Film Festival celebrates winners, Missoula community support

May 04, 2013 6:45 pm • By Martin Kidston

Seven-time Emmy Award winners Howard and Michele Hall took home the International Wildlife Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award for Marine Conservation and Media at Friday night’s ceremony in Missoula.

The longest running wildlife film festival in the world presented its awards to this year’s crop of outstanding productions during its 36th annual ceremony, held this year in conjunction with First Friday at the Roxy Theater.

“We received about 200 films from all over the world,” said festival producer Mike Steinberg. “One thing that was really fantastic was how many people from the community we saw this year.”

Read the full article here.


‘Winter in the Blood,’ filmed in Montana, hits L.A. film fest

May 01, 2013 4:24 pm • By Jaci Webb

“Winter in the Blood,” co-directors Alex and Andrew Smith’s Montana-made film, will make its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival next month.

The LAFF announced its festival lineup Wednesday, with “Winter in the Blood” selected as one of the 12 features for the international festival’s Narrative Competition.

The Smith brothers, Montana natives and writers/directors of the acclaimed “The Slaughter Rule” (2002), shot “Winter in the Blood” during the summer of 2011 along the Montana Hi-Line in Chinook and Havre — honoring the authentic settings of James Welch’s acclaimed novel on which the film is based.

Read the full article here.


‘Winter in the Blood’ to debut at Los Angeles Film Festival


Photo by Michael Coles

May 02, 2013 1:00 pm • By Vince Devlin

The “made-in-Montana” label can be attached to the upcoming film “Winter in the Blood” from almost any angle.

It’s based on the first novel by a beloved Montana and Native American author, the late James Welch of Missoula.

The story was brought to the screen by its co-directors, Montana natives Alex and Andrew Smith.

The novel was set on Montana’s Hi-Line, where Welch grew up, and the movie was filmed on Montana’s Hi-Line. Its cast includes 21 Montanans, several of them first-time actors from the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy’s Indian reservations.

Its star, Chaske Spencer of “Twilight Saga” fame, spent part of his childhood growing up in Poplar on the Fort Peck Reservation. Sixty of its crew members were Montanans, and 100 extras were Montanans.

And so it’s only natural that its world premiere will occur in … Los Angeles?

Read the full article here.


‘Bella Vista’ – New Montana movie (set in Missoula) explores life from the eyes of an outsider –

May 23, 2013  Written by Jake Sorich Tribune Staff Writer

A new independent film coming out next year explores life in the Big Sky state, both the good and bad, through the eyes of a newcomer.

“Bella Vista” recently wrapped up shooting in the Missoula area. It is the first full-length project from director Vera Brunner-Sung, who also is an adjunct film instructor at the University of Montana.

Brunner-Sung said the film is based partly on her experiences coming to Montana, where she’s lived for a little more than a year. She said parts of the film, much like a documentary, show the real lives of several people in Missoula.


Movie magic in Whitefish


Photo by Heidi Desch

By HEIDI DESCH Whitefish Pilot |

Blue waves and a boat in front of Coffee Beach were a beacon for commuters last week that a new cafe had opened in Whitefish. However, no espresso or Americanos were being served at this peculiar beach-themed cafe on the U.S. 93 strip. It was actually a movie set.

The independent film “The Thin Line” wraps up shooting this week after spending three weeks in Whitefish. The former Wendy’s restaurant served as the film’s primary setting after it was transformed into a kitschy beach cafe with tiki grass in the windows and a surfboard as a sign.

Read the full article here.


Montana Film Office Bolsters State Film Industry with the Big Sky Film Grant

June 6, 2013

To support Montana’s resident filmmakers and boost the state’s film industry, the Montana Film Office launched a new program to attract instate film projects. The Montana Film Office began awarding the Big Sky Film Grant earlier this year, and its allocations already have helped several Montana productions meet tight budgets and employ in-state cast and crew, while providing local economic benefit.

“The Montana Film Office created the Montana Big Sky Film Grant to enhance our film community and help create jobs for resident cast and crew members,” said Meg O’Leary, director of the state Department of Commerce. “It’s our goal to award funding to filmmakers who employ our talented workforce and shoot projects in Montana that showcase our state’s iconic natural beauty, towns and talent.”

Read the full article here.


Montana-made Indie Selected for Prestigious Film Festival LAFF


Courtesy of ReelScout

Montana-made indie Winter In The Blood, directed by Montana natives Alex and Andrew Smith, will premiere at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF) on June 14 and June 19, 2013. It will be one of the 12 features lined-up for the international festival’s Narrative Competition. LAFF is a world-class film festival featuring the best in new American and international cinema.

The Smith brothers filmed Winter In The Blood during the summer of 2011 along the Montana Hi-Line in Chinook and Havre — staying true to the authentic settings of James Welch’s novel on which the movie is based.

“We are thrilled and honored to debut our film at LAFF,” said Andrew Smith, who’s also an associate professor at the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts. “This has been a labor of love that stretches back a generation. At every stage, from early grants to open casting calls, from raising money to location scouting, from shooting on location to our extended post-production phase, we are grateful for the support of countless Montanans to keep us going strong. Now we can start showing this uniquely Montana film on the world stage.”

Read the full article here.

MAPSIn another testament to the amount of young film talent in Montana, the Montana MAPS Media Institute has received three Emmy nominations for PSAs the students produced for State Farm Insurance and another nod (in the Public Affairs/Community Service Category) for the “GIVE HOPE” video they created for Bitterroot Youth Homes.

The “GIVE HOPE” video was part of the MAPS pro-bono campaign “GIVE BACK” where community organizations receive MAPS services free-of-charge.

The MAPS Media Institute is a program geared to train Ravalli County high school students in multiple media courses and disciplines. In an innovative environment, MAPS combines traditional teaching techniques, guest speakers, and one-on-one work with award-winning experts in many varied media fields to help students obtain hands-on, dedicated media instruction in areas that include design, film production, photography, music and more. Founded by Peter Rosten, MAPS has been active in educating young people in the media arts for almost a decade and shows no signs of slowing down yet.

Visit MAPS on Facebook, and see their State Farm PSAs and “GIVE HOPE” videos here and here.

Subterranea Casting CallFeature Film Seeks Extras & Young Cast Members

A journey from darkness to enlightenment is taking place in the basements, hallways and stirring landscapes of Western Montana. Feature-length, independent film “Subterranea” is looking for extras and will hold auditions for young cast members this weekend in Missoula.

An adaptation of the double-album of the same name from British prog-rock band IQ, “Subterranea” tells the story of a man who is emerging into society for the first time after a years of isolation in what he finds was a social experiment. The film is slated to begin shooting in late May in the Missoula, Hamilton and Glacier National Park areas.

Casting Call:

  • Boys and Girls Age 3 through 10
  • Newborn Infant – Male

Those interested in auditioning may attend the casting call on Saturday, May 11th at McGill Hall, Room 228 on the University of Montana campus.  Inquiries about the casting, including availability of/rate of pay, should be sent to


If you are interested in being an extra for this film, please email for more information.

BDSF Film Series 5-20-13The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is excited to announce the first installment of the 2013 Big Sky Film Series at the Top Hat Lounge, Monday, May 20th at 8PM.  The series kicks off with director Jacob Hatley’s captivating documentary “Ain’t In It For My Health” on the legendary vocalist and drummer for the band, Levon Helm.

Now in its sixth season, the Big Sky Film Series presents free screenings of traditional and innovative non-fiction films on the 3rd Monday of every month.  The line-up for the 2013 Series will be distinctly influenced by their new home, featuring a mixture of classic and new music and pop culture films. A proud venue sponsor for the Big Sky Film Series, the newly-remodeled Top Hat boasts re-engineered sound, HD projection, food and cocktails sure to make the monthly event a hit.

For more information on the premiere event and the Big Sky Film Series, visit


Hard day’s night: Some work, more play in new Gourds doc

by Nick Davis

At the risk of bouncing a smug note into the surrounding areas of western Montana, Missoula is one hell of a town. There are a million reasons why this is so, but the one exemplified by this weekend’s shot of Gourds mania is worth particular mention.

Simply put, Missoula attracts creative talents of astonishing quantity and quality. And when you put that many dynamic minds in a place hemmed by mountains and fed by rivers, good stuff is bound to happen. Good stuff, like a late-night backyard barbecue, sparked what would become All The Labor, the new documentary from Doug Hawes-Davis and High Plains Films about one of the greatest American bands to never quite hit it big (yet).

Read the full article here.


Two films shot in Montana make it into Cannes Festival

Nebraska Film - Revalli Republic - Will Forte and Bruce Dern - Casey Page Photo

Courtesy of Casey Page

April 22, 2013 2:14 pm • By Jaci Webb

Montana will hit the big screen in two of the 19 films selected in the 2013 Cannes Film Festival competition, including Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” and French director Arnaud Desplechin’s “Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian).” Both films were shot in Montana in 2012.

Montana Film commissioner Deny Staggs said it’s a great moment for Montana to have our state on the world stage.

“Having two films that were shot in our state featured in the world’s most prestigious film festival is a testament not only to Montana as a wonderful shooting location but to the men and women who make up our cast and crew base,” Staggs said Monday.

Read the full article here.


Whitefish to be set for ‘unromantic’ comedy about bikini-clad baristas

WHITEFISH – Tinseltown will converge on the ski town of Whitefish this month as shooting begins on an independent “unromantic” comedy set in a beach-themed coffee shop staffed by bikini-clad baristas.

Sound incongruous? The producers of “The Thin Line” think so, too, and they’re convinced the absurdity of the low-budget film will appeal to a broad audience and strike a comedic chord.

“One of the things that I love about the movie is the incongruity. A beach-themed coffee shop in a mountain town? It was sort of a happy accident,” said Billy Thompson, who is overseeing the film’s casting and music…

Read the full article here.


Two MT Films In Cannes Festival

By Kenneth Wong
BILLINGS – Two films shot in the Treasure State will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France.According to the Montana Film Office, “Nebraska” and “Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)” will be shown at the annual festival, which starts in May 15th.Nebraska was shot in Billings in November, and talks about a father and son traveling from Montana to Nebraska to collect a $1 Million prize. According to the Montana Film Office, 30 local extras were in the film, and it brought in over $370,000 to the state’s economy.

Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian) was shot over the summer of 2012, near the town of Browning.

Missoula based BACKTRACK films is producing a short informational video for the U.S. Forest Service’s Missoula Technology & Development Center that will be shot within Missoula County. The video will used online for inter-agency communications. They are currently looking for participants (male or female) that use 4 wheelers and/or dirt bikes on permitted Forest Service trails and use either a Garmin GPS device and/or their smart phone devices for navigation purposes. There currently is no set age requirement. A small on-camera speaking part will be required, but no acting experience is necessary and this is a no-fee job. Shooting will occur in May as soon as the trails are open and dry and 1 shoot day will be required. For more information on BACKTRACK films, please visit or

To apply, please send an email to and include a picture of yourself, a picture of the vehicle you use (either 4 wheeler or dirt bike), what kind of navigation device you use, your first and last name, where you live, your availability during the month of May 2013, and what trails you like to frequent.


Chris Hoffert, a Helena-based filmmaker, is seeking volunteers to assist with his project, “Unsung Heroes”. Chris and an all-volunteer cast and crew are working on the film to bring awareness to the struggles with PTSD that men and women in uniform face upon returning home.

He is looking for volunteer editors, camera operators, sound technicians and production assistants in the Helena area. The estimated shoot length is 12 to 19 days, with a flexible shooting schedule and primarily weekend-based work. He expects to start shooting in late spring and finish at the beginning of the fall with a tentative release date of May 27, 2014.

Any and all interested parties are encouraged to contact Chris through the “Unsung Heroes” Facebook page.

Soon, applause will ring through South Dakota because the Black Hills Film Festival is coming back! Falling May 1 – May 5 in Hill City, SD, the southernmost-Dakota based fest will have some Montana flavor in the mix this year with the addition of Montana casting director/producer Tina Buckingham, LA-based casting director Rene Haynes and Bozeman-based talent agent Jennie Saks. The three will teach a SAG acting workshop on May 5th.

Based in Bozeman, Tina has been a casting director on many Montana features and commercials and is the founder and director of the Montana Film Actor’s Studio, now in its 6th year of training actors of all ages and abilities.

Rene, originally from Great Falls, now focuses her 25 years of casting expertise out of Los Angeles. Well-known for her abilities in casting Native Americans, Haynes has received two Emmy Nominations for the TNT/Dreamworks mini-series “Into the West” and the HBO feature “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” She also received a CAS Artios Award for “Outstanding Casting” for her work for HBO.

Owner of NASS Talent Management in Bozeman, Jennie boasts twenty-five years of industry experience representing working Montana actors. She currently manages Michael and Eddie Spears.

Parties or productions looking to utilize the years of experience, expertise and talent of Buckingham, Haynes or Saks are encouraged to contact them at their personal sites.

Independent Filmmaker Labs’ Independent Film Week (September 15-19) has annouced new call for entry deadlines for two categories: Emerging Storytellers and Spotlight on Documentaries.

Independent Film Week has been host to some of the world’s premier filmmakers including Charles Burnett, Todd Haynes, Mira Nair, Michael Moore, Joel and Ethan Cohen, Kevin Smith, Todd Solondz, and Wayne Wang. It recently gave platforms to films such as “Beasts of the Southern Wild” and “Me, You and Everyone We Know”. Each catergory during the film week focuses on giving a stage to both emerging and established filmmakers at critical moments in their process.

Keep an eye on IFP’s website for updates on festival descirptions, workshops, deadlines and updated resources for independent filmmakers across the globe.

Emerging Storytellers: May 3, 2013

Take your film to the next level by meeting producers, agents, executives and others who are looking for new, dynamic voices in the world of independent film.

Spotlight on Documentaries: May 3 (early) / May 25 (final)

Get as many eyes as possible on your project with this oppertunity to get your in- or post-production film in front of financing, distribution and festival partners.

SXSW Review: All the Labor

16 March 2013 11:00 AM, PDT | Slackerwood

With ten albums over almost 20 years, the Austin band The Gourds has been well established on the local scene with their raucous live performances. Kevin Russell formed the band in 1994 with fellow songwriter Jimmy Smith, and Claude Bernard on accordion, guitar and keyboards — Keith Langford later joined the band on drums. It was the viral sensation of their cover of “Gin and Juice” that garnered them national attention, and has become their band’s version of “Freebird” as the most requested song. Longtime fans of the band know that the magic of The Gourds truly comes from the communal live experience, whether witnessed at a jam-packed Thursday night show at Shady Grove or the memorable SXSW 2005 free show at Auditorium Shores with a sea of over 20,000 people.

Director and editor Doug Hawes-Davis captures the beloved band in his documentary, All The Labor, which premiered last night at SXSW 2013.

– Debbie Cerda


Shinyribs glisten at White Water Tavern


Thursday, February 28, 2013

LITTLE ROCK — Kevin Russell is a man of multiple musical identities. Best-known as a founding member of The Gourds, a popular Austin, Texas, band, Russell has a new group, Shinyribs.

Fans of Russell recall his first band of note, The Picket Line Coyotes, which played a time or two in the mid- 1980s at Juanita’s before falling apart in the early ’90s. Not to be deterred from his musical destiny, Russell formed The Gourds, who remain intact, he assures fans.

“The Gourds are still going,” Russell says. “But after 20 years of Gourds-ism, I felt like doing something else on occasion. So I branched out into this other thing, and now I’m bringing it to new places. It’s part of my regional expansion plan, into Arkansas and Oklahoma.”

Read the rest of the article here.


Milkdrive, The Gourds


Courtesy of The Austin Chronicle

Fri., March 8, 9pm

Threadgill’s World HQ, 301 W. Riverside, 512/472-9304

This will be the only appearance by Austin’s roots music maniacs during South by Southwest. Live, that is. You can catch ’em thrice on the big screen during SXSW Film, with noted documentary filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis debuting All the Labor. An in-depth look at the band, it promises the usual archival footage and behind-the-scenes goofiness as well as exploring the camaraderie that allows them to remain one of our town’s longest-running and most-beloved acts.

– Jim Caligiuri


SXSW Capsule: “All the Labor”

By Michael Corcoran | Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 10:20 AM

The Gourds are an acclaimed Austin group of five distinct individuals, and their hillbilly art rock attracts a curious cult audience (slacker parrotheads?). But the band’s backstory is really not that intriguing.

“Who wants to know anything about what we do? Who cares?” Gourds bassist Jimmy Smith says at the beginning of “All the Labor,” a documentary that delves music-deep into little Austin’s Greatest Band.

Directed by Montana’s Doug Hawes-Davis, whose previous film “Facing the Storm: The Story of the American Bison,” was also about a splendid species nearing extinction, ”Labor” touches on the key biographical points while understanding that nothing about the members is as interesting as its richly invigorating groove connection. What sets “Labor” apart from other music docs is that they aren’t making bands like the Gourds anymore.

Read the rest of the article here.


Music Documentaries Spotlight Styles Underneath the Pop Music Radar

By Rob Patterson (/users/rob-patterson) | MARCH 11, 2013

The music isn’t just in the clubs, concert halls, outdoor stages and backyards this SXSW week. It’s also on the silver screen. Below are some music documentaries of note that delve into styles and sounds underneath the pop music radar. (Find a bigger list of music films on the SXSW “Music at the Movies” page.)


• “All The Labor”

( – Making its world premiere is Doug Hawes-Davis’s inside look at Austin’s own The Gourds. The award-winning nature documentarian from the Big Sky country of Montana was inspired by his fandom for and friendship with the near-impossible-to-categorize roots music band to create this beautifully shot as well as intimate and insightful look at a group beloved by its cult following. And in the process reveal the unique and compelling charms of The Gourds and unlock why the group continues to play some 150 shows a year even if large-scale success remains elusive. Screenings: Wed. 3/13 at Topfer Theatre at Zach Scott, 7 p.m.; Thurs. 3/14 at SXSatellite: Alamo Village, 4:15 p.m.; Saturday 3/16 at Alamo Ritz 1, 4:30 p.m.

Read the rest of the article here.


Concert Blogger Chats With Filmmaker Doug Hawes-Davis About New Gourds Music Documentary


Photo by Joe Ryan


Great acts don’t always get the credit they deserve. All the Labor, the new documentary from High Plains Films, is a testament to exactly that. The film profiles The Gourds, an Austin-based band whose love for music and performing far exceeds the mediocre success they have hailed. Breaking the typical music documentary mold of an artist’s quick rise to fame and the destruction that then ensues, All the Labor presents the audience with the deeper discovery of a band’s genuine relationship with their music. Rather than capitalizing through their music, The Gourds live through their music and the audience won’t be able to leave this film without a sincere respect for that.

Read the rest of the article here.


All the Labor


Courtesy of Indiewire

Director: Doug Hawes-Davis

Cast: Kevin RussellJimmy SmithClaude BernardMax JohnstonKeith Langford

Theatrical Release Date:

Festivals: South By Southwest Film Conference and Festival (SXSW)

Synopsis: Too happy-go-lucky for the earnest fans of roots music, too plaid and pragmatic for the hippies, too old and hairy for the mainstream, too young to be called legends. Sound like friends of yours? For nearly two decades, the Gourds have been the musical distillation of Austin itself: A label-defying, unpretentious, gregarious gang of friends whose primary motive is to have fun create great music together. “All the Labor” captures The Gourds’ enduring brotherhood and magnetic musicianship through candid conversations, raucous performances, on-tour media interviews and reflections and insight from friends and family. [Synopsis courtesy of SXSW]


SxSW Film Report: 5 New Must-See Rock Movies

by Scott VonDoviak

Only the lucky and well-connected can gain access to the big-buzz shows at SXSW (such as this year’s midnight Prince showcase at La Zona Rosa), but anyone with a film pass can get up close and personal with favorite rockers via the magic of movies. Here are five picks to click from the 2013 SxSW Film Festival that may soon make their way to your local theater or instant viewing queue.

All the Labor

The Gourds have been rocking Austin with their rootsy brand of Americana for nearly two decades, but their only sniff at national fame came via an unlikely cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” which went viral in

the days before most of us knew what that meant outside of its medical context. Unfortunately, their Internet hit was generally credited to Phish in those outlaw Napster days, so The Gourds remain a below-the-radar success story. Doug Hawes-Davis’ rockumentary may change that, assuming it gets seen beyond its SXSW premiere. Following the band on the road and in the studio as they navigate the perilous waters of the modern music business, All the Labor is a treat for longtime fans, as well as a great introduction to the raucous altcountry jams and surreal folk anthems of the band’s principle creative forces, Kevin Russell and Jimmy Smith.

Read the full article here.


SXSW Review: All The Labor


Courtesy of Slackerwood

By Debbie Cerda on March 16, 2013 – 1:00pm in Reviews SXSW

With ten albums over almost 20 years, the Austin band The Gourds has been well established on the local scene with their raucous live performances. Kevin Russell formed the band in 1994 with fellow songwriter Jimmy Smith, and Claude Bernard on accordion, guitar and keyboards — Keith Langford later joined the band on drums. It was the viral sensation of their cover of “Gin and Juice” that garnered them national attention, and has become their band’s version of “Freebird” as the most requested song. Longtime fans of the band know that the magic of The Gourds truly comes from the communal live experience, whether witnessed at a jam-packed Thursday night show at Shady Grove or the memorable SXSW 2005 free show at Auditorium Shores with a sea of over 20,000 people.


Gourds on Film: All The Labor Documents Austin Band’s Rise and Thrall

Courtesy of

In the waning days of the 20th century, two things were considered gospel among in-the-know Austinites: Lance Armstrong, fresh off his first Tour de France victory in 1999, was the greatest athlete Texas had ever produced, and The Gourds were never, ever going to play “Gin & Juice” again. As it turns out, the case for Armstrong’s supremacy has been torpedoed by illicit juicing, and The Gourds have embraced the potentially tiresome novelty of “Gin & Juice” as the anchor—“Free Bird”-style—of mid-set medleys. Fans of both brands have learned it’s best never to say never.

Read the rest of the article here.

Independent, feature-length film “The Thin Line” is looking to cast lead, supporting, featured and extra roles now! There is pay available for roles and a limited number of SAG-AFTRA contracts are available. Anyone over the age of 18 is encouraged to submit for a part in this Montana film. Set and filmed on location in Whitefish, MT, the film will begin shooting on April 22, 2013, with principal photography scheduled to conclude on May 10, 2013. Anyone interested can find a break down of the film here or visit the website for the film.

To submit please e-mail a headshot and resume to with your name (last, first) as the subject line.

Any questions may be directed to the email provided or to the casting hotline: (406) 209-8449.

Auditions are by invitation. Sides will be provided.


You don’t have to go to great length to have great film. In fact, Short10Cinema believes that you shouldn’t; which is why they’ve put out their call for entries for this year’s Short10Cinema Film Festival in Everett, WA.

Open to all filmmakers in Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska, Short10Cinema looks to recognize the best shorts in categories like “Best Director”, “Best Special Effect”, “Best Original Score”, “Best Production Design” and many, many more!  Winners of these categories will be featured on Short10TV and be offered free entry into any of 2014’s Short Cinema Challenges.

Check out their submission site for more information and get shooting, get short, get in!


Note:  This is not a Film Challenge. This is a regular short film competition.   This applies to shorts already “in the can” after January 2012 to current by Northwest filmmakers.

  • All Genres are welcome!
  • Short films must be 1o minutes or less including credits
  • Filmmakers must be residents of  Washington, Oregon, Montana and Alaska.
  • Short Films submitted have been produced within January 2012 to recent.
  • Filmmakers must have all rights to films.
  • Let’s keep it simple! 1920 x 1080 MPEG2 or H.264 is the required format.  Please send the file on a DATA DVD or Flashdrive.  Do not put any security feature nor proprietory codecs on the file.  We will not take the time to call you if we cannot open it.

Award-winning, Missoula-based filmmaker, Rob Whitehair, is known for his films that examine the relationship between humans and wildlife. Missoulians may remember the huge crowd at the Wilma Theater for the Montana premiere of “True Wolf,” a film he directed about humanity’s relationship with the wolf. That film is still in theatrical release throughout North America.

Another canid film Whitehair made back in 2005, “Hollywood Fox,” has been broadcast all around the world over the past few years and will air on Montana PBS this Wednesday, March 20 at 7pm. In Missoula, it will air on KUFM. Check local listings.

“Hollywood Fox” is about the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox and how it manages to survive with help from its human neighbors in Bakersfield, CA. Whitehair, who stands over 6’4″ often muses about the irony of such a tall person tasked with filming the world’s second smallest fox. “I spent a lot of time crouched down in the desert with my tripod on its lowest setting,” he says. The small desert foxes were only active in the early morning and late evening, choosing to spend the hottest part of the day underground in their cool burrows.

Whitehair’s producing partner and wife, Pam Voth, recorded sound and shot still photographs for the production. Bozeman-based award-winning filmmaker, Justin Lubke shot additional footage and worked alongside Whitehair in the field during the 6 months it took to film the story.

Parthenon Entertainment commissioned the film and licensed it to National Geographic International, NDR, Animal Planet and other broadcasters, with the most recent being American Public Television.

From the American Public Television website:

‘In the spirit of Meerkat Manor, HOLLYWOOD FOX follows the trials and tribulations of a clan of kit foxes who make their home on the outskirts of Hollywood. Siblings Fred and Ginger are at the center of the action as their family struggles to adapt to the changing environment and encroaching human population. After multiple tragedies and deaths strike their close-knit group, young Fred and Ginger must quickly learn from grandma the techniques they need to survive. Ultimately, Fred decides to leave the pack for country living while Ginger and grandma — drawn in by the bright city lights — settle down in the old Hollywood Studios in Bakersfield.”

Rob Whitehair is co-founder of the Missoula-based production company,  Tree & Sky Media Arts.

Photo courtesy of Pam Voth

“Hollywood Fox” a film by Rob Whitehair, tells the story of the endangered San Joaquin Kit Fox and how it is surviving amongst its human neighbors. The film will be broadcast Wed, Mar 20 at 7pm on Montana PBS.

HATCH10 LogoOnce again HATCH has teamed up with INTEL to bring us the “Your Passion Inside” International Film Competition at HATCHfest 2013.

“HATCH is based on the fundamental principal of mentorship of young innovators,” said Yarrow Kraner, HATCH founder. “It’s a core value that distinctly separates it from other festivals.”

This year’s festival runs October 2–5 and  HATCH and INTEL “want to know what it means when you ‘HATCH the Passion Inside?’ How do you pursue your passion? How do you bring your passion into the world? What drives your passion? What happens to the world around you when you are living your passion with the most intensity?”

All you have to do is answer one of those questions in a short film format. All styles, genres, and passions are accepted. Whether it’s narrative fiction, animation, music video, documentary, experimental, etc. All passions are welcome. Submit on HATCH’s Withoutabox site.

Entry Rules:

Please submit the following materials:
-Secure Online Screener is the only accepted preview format.
-Entry Fee payable online by credit card. Entry Fees are not refundable.
-Unfortunately submission fees cannot be waived.
-Submitted materials are only returned if submitter picks up all included costs: Postage & Packaging
-Please do not send film prints, master tapes or other originals.
-Film Synopsis (Approximately 150 Words)
-Principal Cast and Production Credits Listing

International Entries
-Films recorded in a language other than English must have English subtitles.
-Please give the title in both English and your native language.

The South Dakota Film Festival began in 2007 to acknowledge films made by filmmakers from the Great Plains region (SD, MN, ND, IA, WY, MT, and NE) or films shot in the Great Plains region. However, regional considerations are only one of many factors considered in the final draw of films chosen for the “South Dakota Film Festival”. While we are trying to emphasize films from the Great Plains, that is not the primary focus. The goal of the “South Dakota Film Festival” is to screen the “best” films submitted regardless of their geographic origin.

Be sure to check out their home site  and get your films to their submission site.

The regular deadline for film submission is May 31st with the late deadline set for June 15.


One of the premier genre-specific fests in the nation, Fantastic Fest is calling for entries now! Do you have a passion for the hi-tech, horror or just plain FANTASTIC films? Do you dream of sharing the screen that premiered THERE WILL BE BLOOD, APOCALYPTO, CITY OF EMBER, ZOMBIELAND, and GENTLEMEN BRONCOS? Then get your film into the folks at Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX.

You can find submission guidelines and a more detailed description at their homepage.


  • Regular Deadline: April 24, 2013 Regular Price: $40 / Discounted Price: $35
  • Late Deadline: May 29, 2013 Regular Price: $45 / Discounted Price: $40
  • WAB Extended Deadline: June 28, 2013 Regular Price: $60 / Discounted Price: $45


  • Regular Deadline: April 24, 2013 Regular Price: $30 / Discounted Price $25
  • Late Deadline: May 29, 2013 Regular Price: $35 / Discounted Price: $30
  • WAB Extended Deadline: June 28, 2013 Regular Price: $50 / Discounted Price: $35


Tucked back in the grandeur of the Tetons, Jackson Hole, WY is proud to have the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival this  Sept 23-27,2013.

Since 1991, JHWFF has produced a unique biennial industry conference that draws 650 media professionals, writers, leading scientists and conservationists to Jackson Hole. They converge from around the world to hone skills, explore emerging technologies and market opportunities, network with professional associates and honor notable achievements within the industry. Internationally recognized as the premier event of its genre, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival is an unparalleled industry gathering. Its film competition—a nature film equivalent to the Oscars®—honors top films selected from over 800 category entries.

Check out all the categories for the fest and submit your film here.

Early deadline-
June 1
Late deadline-
June 15

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