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It’s not only finished movies that come to the Sundance Film Festival to be seen. Pictures that are in pre-production also are brought to Park City to raise both awareness and funds. It’s not every film, however, that comes with the good wishes of an entire state behind it.
That state is Montana and the film, set to begin shooting in June, is “Winter in the Blood,” directed by Andrew and Alex Smith and based on the landmark novel by James Welch about Native American life that has never gone out of print since it was published in 1974.
The Smith brothers have been to Sundance before, with another Montana-based film, the Ryan Gosling-starring “The Slaughter Rule,” and their ties to the state are intense. Not only were they born and raised there but Welch was also a family friend, and their mother, celebrated writer Annick Smith, was the co-editor (along with William Kittredge) of the renowned anthology of Montana writing “The Last Best Place.”
Welch’s novel is so respected in Montana that the state’s governor, Brian Schweitzer, has offered to make his plane available to fly in potential funders, Native American tribes have OK’d filming in previously off-limits spiritual places, and two Montana friends of the brothers hosted a “friend-raiser” for the film in Park City, Utah, on Saturday night.
The event was an especially warm and affecting one and included remarks by two of the film’s stars, David Morse (who was also in “The Slaughter Rule”) and Chaske Spencer, who plays werewolf Sam Uley in the “Twilight” series.
Click here for a PDF of the full article in the LA Times. Credit: Robert Gauthier/LA Times.
Montana Film Office staff are heading down to the legendary Sundance Film Festival. They say the state’s presence and significance at the festival is growing. The Film Office has taken part in the festival in a number of ways over the last few years. They are a major sponsor in one of the event’s biggest filmmaker lounges. The Office hosts a large reception this Sunday night. Speaking to KBZK from the road on his way to the Festival, Film Office Manager Sten Iversen says this could yield some real benefits for the state.
“In the filmmaking business, so much is done based on relationships,” said Film Office Manager, Sten Iversen. “So having personal relationships with filmmakers, producers, well it will lead to increased inquiries at least.”
Iversen said a few years back a group of filmmakers the office met at that Sunday reception made a film in the Bozeman area that next Spring. The Sundance Film Festival runs through January 30th in Park City, Utah.
Click here for a PDF of the full article by Dan Boyce of the KBZK.
A feature film made by former Montana State University film school students, “Prairie Love,” will premiere Sunday at the prestigious 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Utah.
The film, a quirky love story set in North Dakota, was one of 118 films selected from 10,000 submissions to this year’s festival, and one of just 40 narrative features accepted.
Four of the film’s principals attended MSU’s School of Film and Photography: co-producer, co-writer and director Dusty Bias; co-producer and co-writer Ashley Martin Bias; lead actor Jeremy Clark; and associated producer Darren P. Leis.
Selection to Sundance, the largest film festival in the United States, effectively launches a filmmaker’s work into the world of contemporary independent filmmaking world and puts the filmmaker and the film, “on the map,” so to speak, said Cindy Stillwell, MSU film professor.
Click here for a PDF of the full article by Carol Schmidt of the MSU News Service. Photo by Ashley Martin-Bias.