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Montana Filmmakers Alex and Andrew Smith announce Montana Premiere of ‘Winter in the Blood’

Directors and principal cast members to attend screenings at Roxy Theater in Missoula, July 20
Chaske Spencer plays Virgil First Raise in the 'Winter In The Blood'. (photo Michael Coles, © Ranchwater Films 2013) Chaske Spencer plays Virgil First Raise in the 'Winter In The Blood'. (photo Michael Coles, © Ranchwater Films 2013)

HELENA — After a stellar debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, ‘Winter in the Blood’ co-directors and Montana natives Alex and Andrew Smith are bringing their Montana-made film back home to premiere with the state’s first audiences. Joined by cast members including lead actor Chaske Spencer and Montana’s own Lily Gladstone, the Smith brothers will present the Montana premiere of ‘Winter in the Blood’ at Missoula’s newly remodeled Roxy Theater on Saturday, July 20 at 5 & 7:30 p.m.

Advance tickets for the screenings go on sale Friday, July 12, at 10 a.m. at Any remaining tickets will be available on the day of the screenings at the Roxy Theater box office.

‘Winter in the Blood’ Screenings will be on July 20 at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the Roxy Theater, located at 718 S. Higgins Avenue.

Purchase tickets at, starting Friday, July 12 at 10 a.m. Price is $10.

The Smith brothers shot ‘Winter in the Blood’ during the summer of 2011 along the Montana Hi-Line in Chinook and Havre, and on the Fort Belknap and Rocky Boy reservations. In so doing, they captured the authentic settings of James Welch’s acclaimed novel on which the film is based. The film traces the story of a young and troubled Native American man, who embarks on a wild and darkly comic odyssey. After wrapping post-production in the spring of 2013, the film was selected as one of the 12 features for the international L.A. Film Festival’s Narrative Competition.

“After our world premiere in Los Angeles, Alex and I felt it was very important to bring this iconic Montana story home to a Montana audience,” said Andrew Smith, film co-director and associate professor at The University of Montana’s School of Media Arts. “It was Montanans who helped us make this film possible in each stage of filmmaking, from raising money, location scouting and casting through shooting and post-production; and we're very excited to start sharing it with them.”

The Smith brothers will introduce each screening at the Roxy, and will lead a Q&A session after each screening. They will be joined by co-writer/co-producer Ken White, as well as several key cast members, including Chaske Spencer, the Idaho and Montana native who came to fame with his role in the ‘Twilight Saga’; Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (‘Fletch,’ ‘Tombstone,’ ‘Friday Night Lights’); and up-and-coming actor and Montana native Lily Gladstone. Members of Heartless Bastards, the Austin,Texas, rock band that created the original score for the film, will also be on hand. All will be available to the press at a red carpet event at 6:50 p.m. for interview and photo opportunities.

“Audiences in Los Angeles were captivated by the breathtaking Montana cinematography and Native American story that Alex and Andrew capture in the film,” said Deny Staggs, Montana film commissioner. “The brothers are truly talented filmmakers, and the Montana Film Office is very proud to have been able to work with them on this production.”

‘Winter in the Blood’ is the Smith brothers? second Montana-shot film after “The Slaughter Rule” in 2002, which starred Ryan Gosling and David Morse and earned nods at both the Independent Spirit Awards and the Sundance Film Festival.

The Montana Film Office has been an early supporter of the film through grant funding, location scouting and marketing efforts. ‘Winter in the Blood’ was recently awarded a grant for promotional efforts at the L.A. Film Festival through the film office’s newest grant program, the Big Sky Film Grant, offering cash grants to qualified Montana filmmakers who shoot in the state and also get selected into world-class, juried film festivals.

Following the screenings, the Heartless Bastards will perform at the Top Hat Lounge in Missoula. The screenings also coincide with the final weekend of The Colony, Montana Repertory Theatre’s annual celebration of writing for the stage and screen. In 2008, The Colony presented the first public reading of the script of ‘Winter in the Blood.’

“We chose this weekend to premiere the film in Montana so as to cross-pollinate with both the Heartless Bastards and with The Colony’s celebration of ‘The Native Voice,’” said Alex Smith.

The Smiths plan a Montana screening tour in the fall of 2013. Dates of that tour will be announced later.

The Montana Film Office is a component of the Montana Office of Tourism of the Department of Commerce. For the overall economic benefit of the state, it works to bring productions (feature films, commercials, documentaries, television programs and still shoots) into Montana. It is the responsibility of the Montana Film Office to ensure that the state is ‘film friendly’ by attracting and working with producers to find locations that fit their scripts, acting as their liaison with state agencies through every phase of production, administering the state’s film incentive program, and developing Montana’s industry workforce.

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