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"Mending the Line," filmed in Montana, premiers in Bozeman

Warriors and Quiet Waters Lodge, Bozeman
Orlinda Worthington
Warriors and Quiet Waters Lodge, Bozeman

An award-winning movie filmed in Montana premieres Thursday in Bozeman.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington reports on the film that recently won the Valor Award, at the San Diego Film Festival.

(Trailer from Mending the Line) “Ever been fly fishing? I think it could be good for you. Go there.”

Mending the Line is a story of two former soldiers who find healing after the trauma of war through fly fishing. One wounded in Afghanistan, the other a Vietnam War veteran who teaches the younger trooper to fish.

(Trailer from Mending the Line) “ It ain’t easy, it takes practice. Do your recon.”

The story makes a connection with the Warriors and Quiet Waters program based in Bozeman. But it is personal experience by the film’s writer, Stephen Camelio, that inspired him. We spoke before the writer’s strike. Camelio shared this statement:

“During my father’s battle with cancer and after his passing in 2013, I often took solace on the rivers of Yellowstone National Park and Montana. As every fly fisherman knows, there are few things as therapeutic as standing in cool, moving water accompanied only by the rhythm of a fly rod and the possibility of a rising fish.”

Fishing pond at Quiet Waters ranch
Orlinda Worthington
Fishing pond at Quiet Waters ranch

Army veteran Larry Weidinger, of Three Forks, went through the Warriors and Quiet Waters program eight years ago. He’s now a volunteer and works with the foundation. He says the movie does a good job depicting the program, with one exception.

“The character Ike in the movie plays this very gruff, hard to get along with,”

(Trailer from Mending the Line) “Who’s the kid? Ah, some VA sob story. Then you two should get along great then.”

Larry Weidinger says, “That is the one thing that is completely opposite about what WQW does. Everybody who volunteers or works here at WQW just makes all the participants feel like they’re home, feel like they’re loved, feel like they are supported.”

He says the film does capture the most important part of the program.

It really drove home for me that I need to put time and effort into myself. Getting out there on the water cuz the effects that you have just standing in that stream, that river, whatever it may be and feeling that water just go across my legs is calming in and of itself,” Weidinger said.

Brian Gilman the CEO of the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation. We visited at the ranch where veterans spend a week learning to fish and heal. He’s also seen the movie.

“I think that you’ll get a lot from it. It’s a great story. It’s probably gonna hit you emotionally and I think that’s a great thing. Because it brings attention to the need of post 9/11 veterans,” Gilman said.

In fly fishing, mending the line is a maneuver to adjust the line in a way that counteracts the effects of the current, allowing the fly to present itself naturally on the water and get the drift. And, like healing from trauma, it can be difficult to accomplish.
I asked Gilman what the title of the movie means to him.

Brain Gilman said, “What I hear mending the line, it evokes healing with the word mending. Connection to fishing which is where you can make meaning of the past and start building a path toward the future.”

Gilman continues to use the skills he learned when going through the Quiet Waters many years ago.

“ I go to nature every week because it fills me up, it’s where I’m able to make meaning, it brings me back to center,” Gilman said.

For Yellowstone Public Radio News, I’m Orlinda Worthington.

The movie premieres Thursday night at the Emerson Center in Bozeman. It will be followed by a panel discussion with the screenwriter,producer, Quiet Waters staff and a fisheries biologist.

More information can be found here:

The film will be shown at the Regal Cinema in Bozeman on June 9, 2023.