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Montana Film Office

May
31
2013
Press: May 2013

Florence woman takes part in TV pilot for Animal Planet

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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.

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Cannes to screen two Montana-made films

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

POSTED BY KATE WHITTLE ON WED, MAY 1, 2013 AT 2:56 PM

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.

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UM grads shooting feature film based on British prog rock album

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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

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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.

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‘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” http://www.bellavistafilm.com/ 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.

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Movie magic in Whitefish

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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.

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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.

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Montana-made Indie Selected for Prestigious Film Festival LAFF

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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.