It seems the whole state is busy with film projects. Our most recent announcement from the very busy Montana Film Office is a series of grants to nine fimmakers linked to Montana State University (MSU). Over $375,000 was divided between a wide variety of projects.

Three faculty members, professors Dennis Aig and Cat Dale and instructor Deny Staggs have projects at the School of Film and Photography in MSU's College of Arts and Architecture. And six alums from the school also are getting financial help from the Helena--based film office. MSU News provided the details in a news release this week.

Prof. Cat Dale is directing the feature film "Clara Boone," which is based on a true story about a woman finding her voice in 1890s Montana. The film is written by local actor Jenna Ciralli and will be produced by alum Alexa Alberda. Dale also wrote and is producing a comedy "Beasts Undiscovered," about a cryptozoologist, and involves special effects from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

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Professor Aig will team up with Lynn and James Kouf (well-known in the Bitterroot Valley) for a mystery-thriller "Thine Ears Shall Bleed," also taking place in Montana's 1800s, with a mysterious sound coming from the woods.

Staggs will be executive producer of a documentary called "Growing Up Grizzly" from VisionHawk Films, planned for the Smithsonian Channel and Paramount +. The story follows two orphaned grizzly bear cubs.

Alum Hallie Swain is director of photography of "Man Baby," which is part-thriller and part-satire, set during the COVID-19 pandemic in Montana. Alum Phillip Baribeau is director for the documentary "Righteous for the Rangeland," looking at the history of public lands and stewardship efforts. Alum Thomas Winston will produce and direct "Mollie's Pack," a film about wolves in Yellowstone Park. Alums Warren Kommers and Jeff Reed will be cinematographers.

More information about the film grants is at the Montana Film Office website.

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