Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison

By JC

Well, as long as it is PSA Tuesday, I’ll throw in my favorite event of the week! I hope you all can turn out wednesday night for the premiere screening of Facing the Storm: Story of the American Bison.

I’ll have to admit that this PSA comes with a bit of personal investment. I have seen the rough cuts for this documentary, and it is a kick ass, definitive production! There are also many friends of mine in the video, and the production team includes many Missoulians, with the documentary being produced right here in Missoula by our own High Plains Films. I also may have a little bit of my own time invested in both the production and issue, too… So hop on down to the Wilma and check it out!

Big Sky Film Series SPECIAL SCREENING

Montana Premiere of FACING THE STORM: STORY OF THE AMERICAN BISON. New documentary feature highlights the abundance and breadth of local Montana talent

Where: Wilma Theater, 131 S. Higgins Avenue, Missoula, Montana
When: Wednesday October 6, 2010 @ 7 pm Tickets: $8

High Plains Films presents the Montana premiere of FACING THE STORM: STORY OF THE AMERICAN BISON, an ITVS/Montana PBS co-production. The film also had local support from Humanities Montana. The screening is a fund-raising event for Missoula’s Big Sky Film Institute (parent organization for High Plains Films & the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival). The feature documentary is the result of the collaboration of diverse Montana talent. Review copies are available on request.

Full Press Release below the fold.

About the film
FACING THE STORM is the epic account of our tempestuous relationship with the iconic symbol of wild America. It explores the visionary quest to protect and restore bison and details the inextricable relationship of the Plains Indians with the animal. The film also recounts the harrowing near-destruction of the species in the late nineteenth century — from an estimated 30 million bison to a mere 23 individuals by 1885. It graphically exposes the annual slaughter of bison outside of Yellowstone National Park, where the largest genetically-pure herd remains in semi-captivity. Finally, the film explores the epic vision — and monumental obstacles — to restore bison to immense tracts of the Great Plains. This involves a dramatic transformation of how we understand the Great Plains – from a utilitarian world view to a fully-functional ecosystem that combines a lost culture with modern ecological science and contemporary economies, and includes the full range of original species that have been largely vanquished from the region. FACING THE STORM shows us that the American bison is not just an icon of a lost world, but may very well show us the path to the future.

FACING THE STORM is a product of collaboration between many talented western Montana artists and professionals. The film is directed and co-produced by national Emmy-nominee Doug Hawes-Davis of High Plains Films, who also contributed cinematography and editing.

Other local contributors include:

– Missoula filmmaker and artist Andy Smetanka, whose stunning and innovative stop-motion silhouette-animation provides the context for several historical scenes.

– Cinematography and sound by Ken Furrow.

– National Emmy-nominee Dru Carr of High Plains Films, who provided cinematography and editing.

– Co-producers Rita Pastore and Danny Dauterive (Montana Public Television), both of Missoula.

– Historian Dan Flores of the University of Montana, who is featured in the film

– Mike Mease and the Buffalo Field Campaign, who provide footage from years of work near West Yellowstone.

– Burke Jam, local musician who provided music for the film score.

– Ivan Rosenberg, former Missoulian, who composed original music for the film score.

The film also includes interviews with Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, former Montana State Veterinarian, Thomas Linfield, and Montana Stockgrowers Association Director, Errol Rice.

Official Film Page

Screenings Calendar

The film will also be screening at the Kansas International Film Festival in early October and the St. Louis International Film Festival in early November. More screenings are being added regularly.

Press Inquiries/Screener Requests –

View Trailers on the High Plains Films Youtube Channel –
Trailer #1
Trailer #2

High Plains Films is a program of the Big Sky Film Institute,
a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Contact: Doug Hawes-Davis – (406) 543-6726 or


Big Sky Film Series
131 South Higgins Avenue, Suite 307
Missoula, Montana 59802 USA
(406) 541-3456

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  1. Matthew Koehler

    Totally looking forward to this event and film tonight. Congrats to Hawes-Davis, Carr, Furrow and others for yet another excellent film! And DHD was just outstanding explaining the film and these issues on MT Public Radio last week!

  2. i will be there fer sure. thanks jc.

  3. Wild bison are wildlife. While some in our Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks department have yet to come to grips with this fact some have. Currently, however in Montana the Department of Livestock, funded by annual federal tax dollars provided by Senators Baucus and Tester at the request of Governor Schweitzer, runs the show. Checkout livestock law MCA 81-2-120 if you want to see what is legally wrong with bison management in Montana. This ill-advised law empowers the DOL to do damn near anything they want to wild bison, including trespassing onto private property without permission to kill, haze or capture them. This law needs to be repealed. The Gallatin Wildlife Association, a small group of hunters has spearheaded a different idea – The Montana Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act of 2011 (We’ve been trying to pass this legislation for the last 3 legislative sessions). This effort suggests we should respect and protect private property rights while respecting wild bison as wildlife managed by the FWP – radical I know, but we will keep trying and the list of supporters keeps growing.




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