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‘A community effort’: Big Sky helps bring independent film to the silver screen

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Graham McTavish (left) speaks with Joe Borden (right) during the filming of "Somewhere in Montana." PHOTO BY BRANDON SMITH


Somewhere in Montana,”an independent film set and shot in Montana premieres Thursday, June 22 at Showboat cinema in Polson, the setting and shooting location for the film.

The film tells the story of a multigenerational Montana rancher John Alexander (played by Graham McTavish) on the brink of losing his family’s ranch and the life he knows. This desperate circumstance forces Alexander to allow a Hollywood film crew to shoot a film on his land.

When the film crew arrives Alexander and an up-and-coming film director Fabian Vergudo (played by Matt Drago) are forced to confront their vastly different backgrounds and beliefs. The producer of the film, longtime Big Sky resident Joe Borden said that the movie “serves as a discussion between two people who do not see eye to eye ideologically, and right now in our country it’s an important example of how people should act.” Borden is also the co-host of the Explore Big Sky with Hoary Marmot podcast.

The film stars Scottish actor Graham McTavish, who’s perhaps best known for his roles in the fantasy series “Outlander,” HBO’s “House of Dragon ” and the Hobbit trilogy.

Along with the setting and plot firmly grounded in Montana, the film was also funded, produced, written and directed by Montana residents. Writer and director Brandon Smith, a Polson resident, had been trying to make “Somewhere in Montana” for a couple of years. After a postponement because of COVID-19, Borden joined the team to produce the film and help gather funding. Most of this funding came from Big Sky residents, local businesses in the area and state grants.

“If it weren’t for folks in Big Sky who were willing to help out and take a bit of a risk on an independent film, it would not have happened,” Borden told EBS, noting that making of the film was “a community effort.”

Much of this funding and belief in the film came from McTavish joining the film as the lead in the early stages.

“(McTavish) read the script, and it spoke to him, having his interest and participation got us where we are,” Borden said.

The production team also focused on hiring local crew members and actors; Borden said: “we were focused on employing Montanans and doing right by the state of Montana and this film certainly does that.” Over 80% of the crew are Montanans along with many of the actors in smaller roles in the film.

“Somewhere in Montana” is also completely independent from the studios currently affected by the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. And Nova Vento, the production company, will continue to make films and support filmmakers and writers throughout the strike. 

The premier at the Showboat theater in Polson later this month is only fitting. The Montana made and funded film was shot entirely in Polson, the Flathead Lake area and a working cattle ranch outside of town.

“Polson is a character in the movie,” Borden said, adding that he has “fallen in love with the town.”

The breathtaking views of the Polson and the Flathead Lake area will be on display throughout the film and the night of the premier at the Showboat theater.

The cast and crew of “Somewhere in Montana” filming a scene in Polson. PHOTO BY JOE BORDEN

The premier will feature a red carpet, the entire cast and much of the crew will be in attendance along with many of the businesses and individuals who helped fund the film. Tickets are available now, and anyone interested can call 406-883-5606 for more information. 

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