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For the 11th year, the Montana Film Office participated in the Los Angeles Film Festival as a sponsor. One of the largest independent film festivals in the country, LAFF offered Montana Film Commissioner Deny Staggs and Locations/Production Coordinator John Ansotegui a chance to reconnect with old partners and generate new plans for production in Montana.
Taking over L.A. Live! in downtown Los Angeles, the nine-day festival offered tremendous opportunities for connection with Montana crew members and creatives who now call the Southern California city home. Deny and John reached out to Bozeman-based Helio Collective’s LA offices to discuss current project and past success this year, both in and out of state. Independent, Montanan run film company, Badfritter Films, joined the MFO staff on the sky-level Target Plaza for the MFO/HBO-hosted filmmaker reception.
Gathering the who’s who from the teams of 2014 film selections, the filmmaker reception offered the MFO a chance to really help new filmmakers explore the options that Montana can offer their projects. From the Big Sky Film Grant to film-friendly communities in Montana’s cities and towns, the Big Sky State’s offerings always garner major attention. Through conversation with key producers and directors, the MFO was able to create relationships with multiple projects looking to shoot in Montana both early next spring and late this fall.
Moreover, Deny began conversations with key industry partners that will assist the MFO in expanding its media relationships and public presence in film production hubs, like Los Angeles. “We’ve had a great year for film in Montana,” said Deny, “Now, we’re looking at potential partners who will help keep Montana relevant and inviting to people throughout the media industries. This is the kind of growth that will really help Montana get to the top.”
Even more exciting was the premiere of “Cut Bank” a new “Cohen Brothers-esque thriller” that takes place in the town of Cut Bank, Mont. The MFO collaborated with Amie Overstreet and Amie Allison from the Cut Bank Chamber of Commerce to make sure the “real” Cut Bank had a presence at the premiere. In an email, Overstreet told the film office that “the film was well made and flowed well.” The Cut Bank team met with the production staff and a number of actors from the film including Bruce Dern, Teresa Palmer, and Oliver Platt. “They were so kind and down to earth, and hopefully we convinced them to return to Cut Bank for a premiere!” she said.