BY ABBIE DIGEL

Chris Goode, a junior at LPHS, sits in
front of a large-screen Mac computer
in the fi lm studio at his school. He wears a fedora with large stereo head
phones resting over his ears. There
is a large green screen to his right,
with a tv anchor desk sitting in front.
Camera equipment is strewn about
the classroom, but the 16 -year – old is
concentrating on the project at hand. His film, “Sense of Place: The History
of Big Sky,” is premiering in a little
over two weeks, and “he has a lot of
work to do.”

See trailer below:

Sense of Place: The History of Big Sky from Hatton Littman on Vimeo.

Goode has been working on this
independent study project since last
fall. Originally, the fi lm was LPHS
fi lm teacher Hatton Littman’s idea. She assigned a fi lm titled “Big Sky
at 40,” celebrating the resort’s 40th
birthday, but it blossomed into a
full-fl edged documentary “beyond
that. Big Sky was also something
before the resort was here. I wanted
to show that, and what it’s like to
live here now,” said Goode.
Since the inception of the project,
Goode has conducted over 30 interviews,
each lasting up to an hour.
He spoke with Steven Kircher, one
of the founders of Big Sky Resort,
who discussed the growth of the
resort and the longer ski season. Lee
Poole, the developer of Moonlight
Basin discussed their conservation
efforts and how they are preventing
development sprawl near Jack Creek.
Goode also met with Charlie Callander,
a Yellowstone Club veteran,
who spoke about their progress since
their fi nancial meltdown.
“He had
interesting insight. [Callander] was
there throughout the mess they went
through; he talked about how they
started with Blisthex, and the unique
idea of creating private ski resort,”
said Goode.
Other guest appearances will
include Megan Coppola, a past
member of dirtbag royalty, and Bob
and Vivian Schapp, the managers of
Lone Mountain Ranch since 1976. Last week, Goode flew with Kevin
Kelleher to shoot arial footage of
the Jack Creek drainage, and he still
has a couple interviews and heavy
editing to nail before the premier on
April 12.
His research also included studying the pages of history books, and
working with Rick Graetz, who has
penned multiple works on Montana
history. “There isn’t anything like
this for Big Sky. It’s changed a lot in
40 years since Chet Huntley built
the resort, and it will never be the
same again.” said Goode.
This is the largest film project that’s
been done at LPHS since the film
program began last year. Goode and
Littman believe they are setting
a precedent for what film classes
will be for future students. Littman
wants to ensure the students are
“comfortable with media language,
and understand the value. [This
project] is so intrinsic to the model
of what LPHS is– looking at in
depth content and making connec-
tions with outside world.”
Littman stressed the importance of
“having the ability to use media to
communicate visually– it’s a 21st century skill.”
The students also create
blogs in order to have a public voice
and form opinions. She also teaches
a computer applications class, film
editing and broadcast journalism. “It’s
essential they build these skills, and
have a foundation of knowledge [in
media].” Littman wants the students
“to be able to show something in a
savvy, professional way on screen.”
This year the film studio is brand new.
The initial funding came from bonds
that were given to the high school
to outfi t the classrooms with supplies. Beyond that, the green screen
and tv anchor desk were constructed
and dontated by local craftsmen. The
Rotary Club donated one camera,
and Littman donated one of her own
cameras. The school purchased two
Mac computers on which they use
Final Cut Express to produce fi lm
projects. Littman keeps a running wish
list of supplies that could enhance the
program. “It’s a continued process,”
she said. Her middle school classes are
always full, and since the High School
is doubling in size next year, she
hopes there will also be twice as many
students in her classes.
In terms of his grade for the project,
Goode, doesn’t know what type of
mark he will receive. “I can’t get as
much done as I would like to,” he said.
It’s been hard to juggle the rest of his
classes, including pre-calc, but since
he’s been the only student in both
classes, he says it “provides a lot of
learning opportunities.”
Despite his hard work and long
hours (he spends weekends and
after-school hours at school editing), film is only a hobby for Goode.
He wants to attend college and
study engineering after high school.
But what does the rest of his high
school career look like after the film
premieres? Littman says in the last
month, Goode will work on creating
projects for the community such as
commercials, public service announcements and educational pieces.
A web video for Katie Alvin, of the
Jack Creek Preserve, is in the works.
It will be the pilot year for a community outreach program, and in future
years students will be assigned
similar projects.