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Montana International Film Festival Brings The World To Billings Thursday

A poster for the mixed-media film "Theo and Celeste"
Montana International Film Festival

If you enjoy films, Billings is the place to be this week when five days of some of the best independent films from around the country will play on movie screens downtown.

Thursday heralds the second annual Montana International Film Festival, or MINT, organized by filmmakers for filmmakers.

Ruhiyyih Tolton with MINT says thanks to the strong support last year, this year’s MINT will be bigger and better.

"It’s been clear that Billings and eastern Montana is not just ready but hungry for this kind of contact and cultural experience, so it’s been an exciting time to be a part of this," Tolton says.

Like film festivals around the world there is a red carpet, parties and opportunities to meet directors and actors. Director Richard Gray and actor Angus Macfadyen will be here on Sunday for the North American premier of "Robert the Bruce."

Tolton says the festival kicks off Thursday with an opening night reception and film "Epic Yellowstone" narrated by actor and part time Montana resident Bill Pullman.

"It really focuses on this lovely undammed river we have in our back yard," she says.

The environment and the outdoors will be the highlight on Saturday when MINT join forces with the Northern Plains Resource Council to host their Wild and Scenic Film Festival at the Babcock Theater.

For the past decade Wild and Scenic has been a standalone event for Northern Plains but this year they are a part of MINT.

"Like a lot of film festivals we have some great outdoor adventure and we also have beautiful landscapes that people have a sense of wonder about that. It’s fun and inspiring but we also have a lot of film about our relationship to our land," says emcee Ed Gulock.

MINT will also feature several panels throughout the festival, including a double documentary feature Friday night on the issues of human trafficking. Other panels include an indigenous film panel on Saturday and women in film on Friday.

Like last year, MINT will hold a special two-day “Mini MINT” at the historic Roman Theater in downtown Red Lodge over the weekend of September 28 and 29.

The Montana International Film Festival begins Thursday.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.