Governor Steve Bullock today awarded $500,000 in Big Sky Film Grants to feature film, television and documentary productions that will be filmed in Montana.
“Montana is meant for the big screen, and these productions will highlight unique stories in which Montana becomes a supporting character,” Governor Bullock said. “Big Sky Film Grants not only ensures Montana is featured on screen, but also strengthens the development of a growing film industry.”
The Big Sky Film Grant builds partnerships with filmmakers and production companies by providing seed funding to enable the creation of jobs and economic impact related to filmmaking production, enhance the marketing of Montana’s tourism regions, people, history, overall quality of life and support Montana’s filmmaking industry.
Grant funds are required to be spent in Montana.
The following projects have been awarded Big Sky Film Grants:
Feature Film and Television Grant
- “RISE” (Narrative) will receive a $125,000 grant to film in Livingston, Mont. "RISE" is a heart-warming coming of age drama set within the spectacular scenery and rich history of Livingston, Montana. The story, set in the present, was inspired by true events in 1986 when Burlington Northern Railroad closed the “largest locomotive repair yards in the country.” The New York Times reported, “It is the end of the line for the company town.” Despite the odds, with a high poverty rate and lost jobs, the community pulled together, restored the old depot, turned it into a museum and made the town an artist enclave and tourist destination.
- “Non-Western” (Documentary) will receive a $15,000 grant to film in a variety of locations including the Flathead Valley and Crow Indian Reservation. Non-Western is an intimate portrait of two interracial couples on their way to get married that explores human behavior and why we do the things we do.
- “The Apprehension of Dr. Kaczynski” (Narrative) will receive a $50,000 grant to film in Helena and Lincoln, Mont. Ted Kaczynski, a conflicted serial bomber, pursued by his tortured memories and the FBI, finds redemption when he confronts a being who looks exactly like him, trying to destroy the world.
- “2000 Miles to Christmas” (Narrative) will receive a $48,000 grant to film in Missoula and Butte. In this tale of holiday travel gone awry, Chicago food blogger Mitch Greenfield finds his world turned upside down when he’s dumped by his fiancé the week before Christmas. When his boss offers him a chance to lick his wounds at her condo in Maui-- the very place his former fiancé is spending the holidays-- Mitch jumps at the chance to go win back his former bride-to-be.
Resident Filmmaker Grant
- “The Road Angel” (Documentary) will receive a $50,000 grant to film in a variety of locations across Montana. The Road Angel: Big Sky Country is an 8-episode docuseries starring renowned angelic translator and Montana native, Danielle Egnew, who travels Montana’s blue highways to deliver messages of hope and healing to Montana’s individuals and communities.
- “The Streak” (Documentary) will receive a $7,500 grant to film in the Bitterroot Valley. The river carved the valley they call home. Entering its nineteenth year, two friends have caught a trout from the waters of the Bitterroot every month of the year, a feat that has been anything but easy. To keep "The Streak" alive Rick and Kris must battle health, the seasons, the weather, and the river itself.
- “When They Were Here” (Documentary) will receive a $15,000 grant to film in locations across Montana. “When They Were Here” is a documentary that focuses on the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls’ crisis. The stories of these women and girls go beyond the statistics and figures used to define them. They were mothers; they were grandmas; they were daughters; they were loved when they were here.
- “Monster Gold” (Narrative) will receive a $1,500 grant to film in Whitefish, Mont. This comedy sets out to showcase the beauty of Montana as we watch an incompetent young man constantly underestimate the harsh wilderness of Montana as he searches for a gold nugget protected by a monster named Greed.
- “Lewis and Clark route project” (Documentary) will receive a $10,000 grant to film along the Missouri River. Retracing the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, the film is an examination of the changes to the natural world along the route since the time of their expedition.
- “Return” (Documentary) will receive a $10,000 grant to film in a variety of locations across Montana. “Return” is a feature-length documentary following this Montana veteran as he returns to Vietnam for the first time since the war. Joined by his son, our protagonist sets out to retrace his steps, reckon with the past, and, for the first time, share reflections and insights from the war.
- “Farm to Glass” (Television) will receive a $34,000 grant to film in a variety of locations across Montana. Discover the Farm-to-Glass craft of Montana’s budding beverage industry. The project will be a compilation of twelve videos promoting Montana’s orchards, vineyards, and farms, which take a specialty crop from the farm and craft it into a unique and delicious beverage.
- “Montana’s Best” (Television/Internet) will receive a $100,000 grant to film across a variety of Montana locations. Host (Julie Mac) is out to find experiences that entice both locals and visitors to the state of Montana. There are six different communities that the show will visit in this 8-episode series. Julie discovers businesses and attractions that are considered the best at what they do in each location. She brings the viewer on journey to where they will meet dynamic men and women who create amazing services for the public to enjoy and learn the history of what makes a place/attraction so unique.
- “Lead Eagles” (Television) will receive a $10,000 grant to film at the Montana Raptor Conservation Center. This documentary examines the options for lead free hunting, raptor recovery and showcasing conservation in Montana.
- “Fifth and the Dragon Knights” (Internet/Animation) will receive a $4,000 grant to film in the Paradise Valley of Montana. The popular young adult book series “Eragon” is adapted from the landscape around the Paradise Valley. As filmmakers and digital animators, we are basing everything in Montana, forest, trees, castles, knights and Dragons, but set off in another world.
- “Weekend Guide To” (Television/Internet) will receive a $20,000 grant to film in a variety of locations across Montana. This is a travel series that focuses solely on smaller towns and communities across Montana, locations that are often less-traveled to in a state known for its unique beauty.