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Commercial productions help make up for movie losses

Ari Wegner, director of photography for <em>The Power of the Dog</em>. The film was shot in New Zealand, although the story is set in Montana.
Kirsty Griffin
Montana scenery prominent in commercials

Montana is losing millions with the cancellations of big film and TV productions like “Yellowstone” and “1923” due to the Writers Guild and Actors Guild strikes.

Yellowstone Public Radio’s Orlinda Worthington reports on one type of production that is still going strong in the state.

Montana is known for car commercials. Locations from the state’s majestic mountains to gravely ghost towns are the background to some of the most scenic car commercials you see on TV.

Alison Whitmer is the director of the Montana Film Office. She says for the most part, commercial actors fall under a different theatrical contract than the one contested by the Screen Actors Guild. Plus.. most automobile commercials feature only - automobiles.

“We have several commercials filming right now around the state. And we’ve seen our commercial work has been keeping level. And so we’re really being in touch with our commercial directors and producers to bring that up,” Whitmer said.

Print commercials and independent film productions also continue to film in Montana.

The Writers Guild of America is currently on the 14th week of its strike, while actors with the union SAG-AFTRA are on their third week.

Orlinda Worthington hosts “Morning Edition” weekdays on YPR. She brings 20 years of experience as Montana television news anchor, producer, and reporter.