MINT 2019: A Montana Film Festival on the Rise Image

While we live in an era of a film festival a minute, the second annual Montana International Film Festival (MINT) can offer something new and fresh to an avid cinephile-festival goer in the Big Sky country of Montana—revealing an outsized cinematic legacy and talent relative to its huge size and small population. MINT is not just a gorgeous fall film festival weekend destination, it promises cutting-edge, interesting and original programming worthy of attention—and worth missing the Emmys for. The second MINT unspools Thursday, Sept. 19, through Monday, Sept. 23. In addition, MINT will inaugurate an annex MINT weekend film fest in the historic little Yellowstone gateway of Red Lodge, Mont. (pop. 2286), which will take place a week after the main event in Billings.

“A film festival allows for local businesses to come together and get people involved in storytelling.” – John Dahl

Delivering on its mission and the goods of being a festival by and for filmmakers and, also, for an audience of independent thinkers and film lovers, this year’s festival features Billings native and acclaimed film and television director John Dahl. An honored guest for this year’s MINT festival, Dahl will not only open and will not only present an episode of the dramatic Paramount Television series he directed Yellowstone, he’ll join his second-grade childhood friend Kirk LeClair, for the punk rock documentary film So Good I Can’t Take It. If you never knew about a punk rock scene in Montana, now you know. And John Dahl was part of it.

“LeClair is a real audiophile and has been for years,” said Dahl. “And he wanted to do a film on the punk rock scene in the 70s and 80s in Montana, and so he launched into it. He found out quickly—unlike today where everyone has a device—that there was not much film and videotape of people performing. He scraped together images and some footage that really does chronicle punk rock in Montana. It’s a remarkable film, because it’s a chronology of all these bands, and eventually there will be an album to go with his movie. It’s really fun that The Pugs will play at the MINT because we’re all from Billings, and we’ll all be there for Kirk’s movie with t-shirts and buttons.”

Dahl, a prolific screenwriter and director, has directed the films Red Rock West (1993), The Last Seduction (1994), Kill Me Again (1989) and Rounders (1998) as well as directed countless, well-known television series episodes including Californication, True Blood, Dexter, The Affair, Ray Donovan, Yellowstone and many more.

“A film festival allows for local businesses to come together and get people involved in storytelling,” said Dahl. “It’s local and, in Billings, you will get to see some interesting things and that’s unique.”

Dahl is reuniting The Pugs for a special performance on Friday, Sept. 20, at MINT and he will also join LeClaire for a Q & A after the screening of the punk doc So Good I Can’t Take It on Friday, Sept. 20, which will screen at 1 p.m.

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  1. A. Blair says:

    Great article! As a Montana resident, I love to see MINT Garner this attention! What a beautifully written piece!

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