September 23

Second Annual Montana International Film Festival (MINT) Announces Winners ONCE UPON A RIVER, HUGH HEFNER’S AFTER DARK Among Winners-Sept.19th-23rd,2019

Robert the Bruce Made It’s North American Premiere
Second Annual Montana International Film Festival (MINT) Announces Winners
ONCE UPON A RIVER, HUGH HEFNER’S AFTER DARK Among Winners
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The Second Annual Montana International Film Festival (MINT) wrapped today with an awards ceremony and closing celebration at The Babcock Theatre and The Depot in historic downtown Billings. The weekend featured screenings of 75 films, panels and events attended by filmmakers, press and Billings locals.

“This second year built on the success of our first: to bring the finest independent film and filmmakers to Billings,” said MINT executive director Brian Murnion. As a new and boutique festival on the rise, to be able to host so many talented filmmakers and guests was an honor.”

MINT’s competition lineup of six narrative and five documentary features were competing for a combined $5,000 in cash and in-kind prizes and awards included the second MINT Spirit Award, as well as seven juried awards: Best Female Director, Best Narrative Feature, Best Narrative Short Film, The Indigenous Voices Award; Best Documentary Feature Film, Best Documentary Short Film and the “Made In Montana” award.

Best Narrative Feature went to the screen adaptation of Bonnie Jo Campbell’s book ONCE UPON A RIVER, directed by Haroula Rose, produced by Grace Hahn (in attendance) and starring Kenadi Delacerna, John Ashton, Lindsay Pulsipher, Tatanka Means and Coburn Goss. The narrative jury consisted of producer Milan Chakraborty (MY FRIEND DAHMER, ASSASSINATION NATION), Jane Lind (RETURN TO LONESOME DOVE), and Andrew Smith (WALKING OUT). The jury also awarded a special jury prize in acting to Kenadi Delacerna.

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BOOM: A Film About the Sonics, Winner of MINT Spirit Award
The Documentary Feature jury, comprised of Moviemaker Magazine West Coast Editor Greg Hamilton, Oxford Film Festival Executive Director Melanie Lynn Addington, and local Ted Kim (Furnace Filmworks), chose Canada’s HUGH HEFNER’S AFTER DARK: SPEAKING OUT IN AMERICA, directed by Academy Award-winner (for 1985’s documentary on the bandleader Artie Shaw), Brigitte Berman.

Speaking for the jury, Hamilton said, “This year’s Documentary Feature winner captured several essential truths about the human condition, while pushing the audience to consider a new perspective of something controversial. It’s a compelling film with a maverick sensibility that magnifies the values of creativity, inclusion and diversity through the complex viewfinder of our collective history.” On learning of the award on her flight back to Toronto, Berman said “Thank you so so much. I am so thrilled, as would be my late husband, producer of the film, Victor Solnicki. This is a wonderful honor and to receive it at this fantastic film festival. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that our film has been honored in this way! Thank you to the jury and thank you to MINT.”

BOOM! A FILM ABOUT THE SONICS, chronicled the rise, demise and resurrection of Seattle punk pioneers The Sonics, took home the MINT Spirit Award, from a jury comprised of Brian Murnion and Ryan Kabeary, the founders of MINT Film Festival. Coincidentally the film also won the Best Film Prize at FilmFest Bremen in Germany earlier today. Albertsen said of his win, Thank you so much for having me and my film out; it really meant a lot just to be able to screen my film in Montana—Montana’s my home, this is where I edited and finished the film, and to get this award means the world to me. Thank you so much Montana International Film Festival—hope we meet again!”

Christopher Rolinson’s narrative short film SUPERFUND: TAILING HISTORY picked up the “Made In Montana” prize from jurors Michael Spears (DANCES WITH WOLVES) and MSU professor Tami Holland.

Khushnuda Shukurova was named Best Female Director for her film DETAINED, her short film about two Syrian siblings who receive official legal documents to permanently join their father in the United States. However when the airplane lands in JFK, they are taken into custody for interrogation by Customs and Border Police. The Female Director Jury comprised current MINT board member and former Hatch Film Festival executive director, Penny Ronning, Diane Cairns (THELMA AND LOUISE, FATAL ATTRACTION) and Virginia Spragg (AN UNFINISHED LIFE, AS COOL AS I AM).

MINT’s doc short jury members Ron Garritson (FAR AND AWAY) and independent filmmaker Jessica Hart chose HISTORY OF MEMORY, directed by Sarah Klein & Tom Mason, to receive the documentary short award. The narrative shorts jury was comprised of Montana Film Society founder Tyler Grutsch (Montana Creative + Video), and journalist and marketer Sabina Dana Plasse and chose PASTALIGHT, directed by Christopher Martini, as the best narrative short.

The Indigenous Voices Jury Panel featured Eddie Spears (YELLOWSTONE) and Montana Coordinator for Indian Affairs Reno Charette, who chose BLACKFEET FLOOD, directed by Torsten Kjellstrand & Ben Shors. They also conferred a special jury prize on RECLAMATION: THE RISE AT STANDING ROCK, directed by Michele Noble.

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John Ashton in ONCE UPON A RIVER, Winner MINT Narrative Feature
A complete list of awards follows below:

Narrative Feature
WINNER
ONCE UPON A RIVER
Directed by Haroula Rose

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
Kenadi Delacerna
ONCE UPON A RIVER
For Acting

Documentary Feature
WINNER
HUGH HEFNER’S AFTER DARK: SPEAKING OUT IN AMERICA
Directed by Brigitte Berman

MINT Spirit Award
BOOM! A Film About the Sonics
Directed by Jordan Albertsen

Made In Montana
BLACKFEET FLOOD
Directed by Torsten Kjellstrand & Ben Shors.

Female Director
WINNER
DETAINED
Directed by Khushnuda Shukurova

Narrative Short Film
WINNER
PASTALIGHT
Directed by Christopher Martini

Documentary Short Film
WINNER
HISTORY OF MEMORY
Directed by Sarah Klein & Tom Mason

Indigenous Voices Award
WINNER
BLACKFEET FLOOD
Directed by Torsten Kjellstrand & Ben Shors

Special Jury Prize
RECLAMATION: THE RISE AT STANDING ROCK
Directed by Michele Noble.

About the Montana International Film Festival
MINT derives its name from Montana International, and is a 5-day film festival located in Billings, Montana. MINT is organized by filmmakers for filmmakers. MINT’s driven purpose is the festival experience by collaborating with industry professionals to bring new ideas and strategy to redefine what a world-class festival can be. MINT’s mission is to connect people through film from around the world. With a focus on curating a film program that showcases films pushing creative, technical or social boundaries, MINT connects filmmakers with distributors, offers prizes, grants and funding for filmmakers to create new films. MINT promotes educational programs in Yellowstone County for high school students, special needs students, and low-income students.

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