Select Special Features. Select Deleted Scenes. Or maybe Cast and Crew Interviews. Watch your clip. Back to Main Menu. Do it again.
Or, you know, do it the easy way.
Launched in February, producer Tonya Easby began Reel West Montana to showcase Montana-made media projects, work as a resource for local media professionals as well as illustrate Montana as a unique and viable filming location. In essence, she created an all-access pass to get you behind the scenes under the Big Sky.
Hosting hours of selections from current productions, going behind the scenes and below the line, previewing film trailers, and offering workshops on filming in Montana, Reel West provides everything Montana film in one place.
Leveraging from the YouTube platform is a natural choice for Easby, “I like the idea of YouTube over broadcast venue because of the interactive possibilities between the audience, the content producer, and the channel. We can create a venue and a community that grows organically with the interest of the audience as well as the needs of the filmmakers.”
Projects funded by the Big Sky Film Grant begin filming and prepare deliverables on-set. While the main cameras are focused on what’s in front of them, grantees are turning theirs to everything else. Production teams then provide these videos to Easby for spotlighting on her channel. The clips can range from pre-production interviews to real-time on-set events from some of Montana’s more unique film shoots.
While she sees the limits of an exclusive ‘film channel,’ Easby isn’t deterred, “[The channel] is definitely a niche channel but quite varied in that we can be a source for entertainment as well as technical education and industry news. Eventually we will link to all sorts of news and content already on YouTube and other venues.”
Helio Productions, a Bozeman-based production company, was one of the first to break out on the channel as it filmed and promoted its original production, Spirit Canoe. Setting the bar high, the Helio Crew was followed by other production interviews with current and past Montana crew members who shared stories about productions they had worked on and where the future of Montana film was headed.
As the Big Sky Film Grant program progressed, multiple Montana filmmakers and crew members jumped at the chance to highlight Montana’s film prowess with shows about locations in Montana, special trailers for upcoming films, and exclusive cuts of finished features that add a new dimension to old favorites.
Subscribing to the channel is just the first step since Easby is eager to work as many new content producers as possible, “If you are a filmmaker who would like your work or your profile to be featured, contact us and we’ll make a plan on the best way to produce and package your idea.”
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