Stephen SmallSalmon

Stephen SmallSalmon displays The Last Beyond poster at the Summer Quarterly shortly after is was premiered at Bozeman in June.

Char-Koosta News 

It’s been in the can for 14 years. The it is the movie “The Last Beyond.” The can is parlance for film reel movies stored in a metal octagonal cans, and shipped to movie theaters back in the day. The modern parlance is for movies awaiting to be publicly premiered. The movie finally got out of the can this summer, and was recently shown at a legendary Hollywood theater.

The movie features Pend d’Oreille Elder Stephen SmallSalmon in a prominent role. He is one of four top-billed roles, and he has been scratching the itch to get it out of the can for 14 years. Thankfully he needs to scratch no more — at least not that itch.

‘The Last Beyond’ premiered June 7, 2019 at the Bozeman International Film Festival, and it was shown at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Maine, July 29.

As important as those premieres were, the recent showing in Hollywood two weeks ago at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater is the ultimate venue for film premieres. The legendary theater opened 1927 and since has become a movie tradition, featuring cement handprints and footprints in the forecourt of famous movie stars that immortalizes them. More than four million visitors from all over the world visit the theater every year. It was designated as a historic cultural landmark in 1968.

“A Hollywood company saw the movie at one of the festivals and bought it,” SmallSalmon said last Wednesday. “It was shown at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater last Sunday. They wanted me to be there. I’ve been to Hollywood a couple of times but I really don’t like flying.” 

‘The Last Beyond’ was written and directed by Graham DeBose. The cast includes Chris Snyder as Stratton Eiseley, Jolene Andersen as Gracie Loren, Noah Watts as Joe Running Elk and Stephen SmallSalmon as Flying Bear.

Watch the trailer below:

SmallSalmon has appeared in Port Polson Players plays, in video and radio commercials and in voice-overs on video commercials. He has also has had photos of him featured in magazines and businesses. His photo is prominently displayed at the Applebee’s restaurant on Brooks Street in Missoula.

“I make a few bucks doing commercials but the big-thing for me is this movie,” SmallSalmon said, adding that time was a dichotomy when it came to the movie — the 14 years went by pretty fast on one hand but seems like a long time on the other. But now those two hands are clapping now that the time dichotomy has intersected and the film is out of the can. “It feels good that people are finally seeing it. There is a possibility that it will be shown in Polson soon. There are people working on bringing it here. I hope that happens soon.”

What’s it about?

The movie is as an intimate western set during the Great Depression. It is the love story and spiritual journey of Stratton and Gracie whose lives meet as everything around them falls apart. Living in the wilds of Montana with newfound friends Joe Running Elk and his grandfather Flying Bear, they begin to become whole again. When tragedy strikes, Flying Bear reveals a vast world beyond death and Gracie must find the strength to save them all.

It is 1933, and just after burying his father, Stratton Eiseley watches, defeated, as the bank forecloses on the family ranch. Bereft and alone, he meets Joe Running Elk, and has an idea that inspires Joe and his grandfather Flying Bear to make a living with him in the mountains. As the three find new purpose, Stratton meets the captivating Gracie Loren and falls deeply in love. It appears their fates have dramatically changed for the better, but when a corrupt sheriff pursues the group, it leads to dangerous consequences, altering their lives forever.

In this intimate epic, we lay the social mores of the modern world against the wild justice of Montana. Though set over 75 years ago, our story has a timely relevance. Since the recession began, many of us have had to rethink our lives, and what’s important to us. When faced with losing much of what we hold dear, it is certain we will emerge from the experience forever changed… but for better or worse? This story addresses that question.

Being dealt a blank slate feels like an overwhelming burden to Stratton, until he realizes he’s been granted the ultimate freedom to remake his life. In time Stratton lets go of who he was in order to be reborn; he truly starts over. Flying Bear tells the story of the Bear People who were shape-shifters and great healers; they could bring the dead back to life. This is indicative of the Indian philosophy that life is cyclical; on the other side of death is birth.  Destruction, painful as it is, is only the first step in the process of new growth.

The blessing in tragedy, this is The Last Beyond.

The Last Beyond was filmed in the Livingston, the Gallatin National Forest, Paradise Valley and the Gallatin Valley.

The Last Beyond at IMDB.com

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