The Montana Film Office, a division of the Montana Department of Commerce, issued grants totaling $1.5 million for 35 film productions created in the state.

KGVO News spoke to Allison Whitmer, Film Commissioner for the State of Montana on Thursday about the grants and where they have been spent.

One project that received $27,000 wasn’t a film at all, but was the agency’s very first video game project.

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“We have our very first video game project,” said Whitmer. “That's one of the things a group over in Great Falls is creating. It’s an entertainment and educational video game called ‘Burst!’ They have been profiled by some major video game suppliers. That's how we found them. One of the great things about their project is they have a group of people with differing abilities, and they're able to stay in Montana and build their video game. The game is all about the periodic table of elements. So we're looking forward to seeing that one come out.”

Whitmer said another project was created in the Bitterroot Valley.

“We have been looking at a couple of things down in Ravalli County,” she said. “So we have a film that is about the apocalypse. This group of people survived the apocalypse and then they want to do a television show. But in order to do that, they have to let the rest of the people survive the apocalypse, so it's a comedy about, do we leave or do we not leave? So that's down in the Hamilton area.”

An Oscar Award winning movie ‘The Power of the Dog’ was filmed in New Zealand, but the setting was in 1925 Montana. Whitmer said both the director, Jane Campion and the lead actor, Benedict Cumberbatch were in Montana preparing for the film.

“The Power of the Dog is from a Montana author, Thomas Savage,” she said. “He grew up at Horse Prairie outside of Dillon. Jane Campion, who turned that into a project, did come and scout with us and came and looked at his original home and all the landscapes and she also sent Benedict Cumberbatch here to work with real cowboys for weeks and weeks to get the authentic 1920s look and feel for that film.”

Whitmer provided contact information on how to apply for grants from the Montana Film Office.

“We have an application process through the Montana Film Office,” she said. “It just opened earlier this week. Just go to Montana film.com and click onto the incentives and we have the Big Sky Film Grant program. We have three categories; short form content, Montana resident and then we have a full feature film and television grant.”

Whitmer said since the wildly popular ‘Yellowstone’ series began filming in Montana that several film and television companies have expressed interest in developing projects in the state.

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