Bozeman ranked among top filmmaking towns

By KERRY BYRNES/Montana State News

According to MovieMaker Magazine, Bozeman ranks among the top towns to live and work as a filmmaker.

Bozeman was ranked the number four town (population 100,000 and under) in the country, behind Asheville, N.C., No.1, Ashland, Ore., No. 2, and Boulder, Colo., No. 3.

“Bozeman is a strange place,” said Ethan Confer, a student in Montana State University’s film school. “It’s where technology meets agriculture, it’s where community converges with nature and art transcends through all of the above.”

The magazine calls Bozeman “nature’s playground for moviemaking,” citing impressive scenery, recreational opportunities and low cost of living as important factors in the ranking. 

According to Confer, Bozeman’s unique weather patterns attract cinematographers.

“I’ve developed a keen eye for observing trends in weather, clouds and light,” he said. “Each season brings a plethora of different variables to the scene but there seems to be rhythm, grace and predictability to each and every one of them.”

Confer said that although he obtained a photography degree from an out-of-state university, he chose Bozeman and MSU to further his education in filmmaking.

“[Bozeman is] affordable, it’s clean, it’s active and, most importantly, it’s a community that places emphasis on sustainability, technology and the future.”

MovieMaker also cites MSU’s master of fine arts degree in science and natural history filmmaking – the first of its kind – as a big reason filmmakers thrive in Bozeman.

“A lot of the graduates are actually starting their own companies and are being very entrepreneurial about what they’re doing,” MSU film school Director Dennis Aig said in a press release.

“So in sort of the same way that Stanford influenced the Silicon Valley, we are influencing the film industry,” Aig said.

Confer said he plans to stay in Bozeman to pursue a career in film and photography.

“I don’t know if I’ve watched ‘A River Runs Through It’ one too many times, but as jaded as I’ve become, I never tire when observing the drama of this landscape.”

-Edited by Morgan Solomon

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