The state of Montana touted its filmmaking prowess Friday at the Los Angeles Film Festival with the world premiere of ”Winter in the Blood,” from director brothers Alex and Andrew Smith.
Shot in 23 days in the northwest plains of the state, the adaptation of James Welch’s novel received $45,000 in grants from the state — or about 5% of its $1 million budget.
“We started working on this in 2007 and originally wanted to make it for $6 million but we had cut that in half and then cut it in half again and then half again and then cut some more,” Alex Smith reflected at the post-screening bash at White Rabbit Studios east of downtown.
“When we started, we were working on an assignment of adapting a not particularly good story — and ‘Winter in the Blood’ was what we really wanted to do, so we started cheating on the other one and this script really became our mistress,” he mused.
Chaske Spencer, who played Sam Uley in the “Twilight” films, recalled that prepping for the new role required him to begin consuming cheeseburgers at a quick rate to portray a man on a journey of inebriated images — mixed in with childhood loss.
“I really let myself go,” he mused. “It’s amazing how fast you can get to that alcoholic bloat.”
Montana film commissioner Deny Staggs said that the year-old program — funded at $1 million annually — has given Big Sky Film Grants to 20 other productions besides “Winter in the Blood” as the state attempts to elevate its profile as a filmmaking destination.
“That’s a lot of money for a state where there are only about one million residents,” he added.