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Film fans flock to FLIC

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Although the mild weather beckoned people to enjoy the outdoors, movie fans headed for the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest held at Showboat Cinemas Friday through Sunday. 

FLIC opened with “Where God Likes to Be,” filmed on the Blackfeet Reservation around Browning. 

The documentary featured stunning photography of the area and followed three young Native Americans — Andi Running Wolf, Edward Tailfeathers and Douglas Fitzgerald — during a pivotal summer in their lives. The documentary was made by Anna and Nico Hudak, who live in Germany, although Nico grew up in Kalispell. 

“There aren’t many opportunities here unless you make them,” Running Wolf said of the Browning area at the beginning of the film.

After the film, Tobias Wagner — who wrote the score for the documentary — joined Running Wolf and Fitzgerald and answered questions from the audience.

Running Wolf said the documentary began filming on her last day of high school before graduation in 2009. She was conflicted about leaving home and attending the University of Montana.

Having a camera crew around might have intimidated some people, but Running Wolf was okay with it, and her roommate at UM was excited about being filmed. 

Fitzgerald also drew a lot of attention during filming.

 “I got a lot of eyes everywhere I went, but I enjoyed the company,” he said.

Fitzgerald is a cowboy and loves the outdoors. He rodeos in the summertime and has received his associates degree in teaching Blackfeet language. 

The third young person, Tailfeathers, was looking for a job and practicing with his band.

People came to “Where God Likes to Be” for different reasons.

“I wanted to catch it because the actors are here. It’s a story of the reservation,” said Steve Sherick.

Because Mara Zigurs works with young people, she was drawn to the film.

“I was at the dinner thing and met Tobias,”  said Mara Zigurs — extra inspiration for her and her husband to come and watch.

Rich Cannon said the humanity, the landscape and the tradition pulled him in.

Cannon was not the only person lured to the Entertainer for two days of screening in both theaters. 

Tireless volunteers kept the event moving smoothly, and Polson Theater employees kept the popcorn popping and the sodas flowing. 

The documentary, the full-to-the-last-seat theater, the applause after the film, the intimate setting, and the interest as attendees asked questions during the question-and-answer section following the screening all summed up the feeling of FLIC.

Frank Tyro and Daniel P. Smith co-chaired the event. Tyro said they were still calculating attendance, but the festival used both screens at the theater this year. 

“We had good turnout on a lot of the blocks,” Tyro said. 

Months before FLIC began, David L. King, as producer and projectionist, spent 12-hour days formatting the films so they could be played at the theater. He also judged the festival along with Karen Lewing and Mac Swan. 

On Sunday evening, FLIC presented awards.

“Where God Likes to Be” won the people’s choice award, although it was a horse race, according to Tyro. Three votes separated the top three fan favorites. “Sitting Bull’s Voice” with Ernie LaPointe, Sitting Bull’s great-grandson, came in second; and “Eagle Boy” was two votes short of that. 

Other awards included:

Flic Junior – “Black Rock Creek”

Flic Junior honorable mention - “Lilly’s Big Day,” “The Farm”

Best film animation – “Tears” made in Kurdistan

Animation honorable mention – “Lilly’s Big Day”

Best picture short documentary – “Eagle Boy”

Best picture short documentary honorable mention – “The Orphan Girl,” “Untrammeled”

Best picture short – “One Armed Man,” produced by the late Phillip Seymore Hoffman

Best picture short honorable mention – “Nobody,” “Lambing Season”

Judges’ honorable mention – “The Raving” produced in Polson by local filmmaker Jim Ereaux and friends Wendi and Joe Arnold and Mike and Hilary Lozar

Best female actor – Johanna Trujillo in “Lake Los Angeles”

Best male actor – Graham Clark in “Chip”

Best indigenous film – “Where God Likes to Be”

Best picture documentary feature – “Davids and Goliath” 

Best picture documentary feature honorable mentions – “Sitting Bull’s Voice” and “Where God Likes to Be”

Best director – Evgeny Korchagin for “Felix and His Love”

Best picture feature – “Felix and His Love”

Best picture feature honorable mentions – “Mousse” and “Agnes Dei”

For film buffs that missed some showings, the Showboat Cinemas will be showing two-hour blocks of some of the best films through Thursday, Jan. 29. 


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