Montana Forum on Film and New Media

Published Date


I spent the last day and a half at the first ever (hopefully first annual) Montana Forum On Film and New Media, held here in Butte  The forum is a gathering where Montana Filmmakers can network and discuss what they do. The discussions were, obviously, geared towards people working in the field. At times, this made it difficult for the uninitiated, myself included, to understand what was being said. Some sentences seemed to be composed almost entirely of acronyms. I heard the word “industry” so much that it started to lose all meaning. But despite the bewildering amount jargon being flung about every which way, I did manage to take away something from the forum. Here are some quotes:


Apparently, many Montana filmmakers head out to Southern California to begin their career, but find they can't stay away from the Big Sky state.  JP Gabriel of Filmlites Montana said of his time in California and the decision to move back to Montana that he became “sick of spending time in the car, waiting to get somewhere [he] never arrive[d].”

The panels offered good advice for young filmmakers entering the industry.


An audience member asked what it takes to get the attention of film festivals. Yarrow Kraner of Chisel industries answered that "first, the film has to be good." He added that he also uses Linked-In to make connections. Staggs suggested contacting the local film festivals.


In response to a question about getting attention on crowd funding site’s like kick starter and indie go-go, Tom Winston of Grizzly Creek Films said that it helps if the project is "issue based," rather than "just a dream in your head you think everybody needs to see."

So, there you are, a few words of wisdom from successful, independent Montana filmmakers.