Local filmmakers land grants for documentaries

By ARINA BILLIS/Montana State News

Elliot Lindsey, founder and director of the Handmade Movement, recently was awarded two Development grants from Montana Film Office for the online film series “The Makers.” The first grant they received in November of 2013. After sending the rough cut of the trailer in August of 2014, they received a second grant in October. The second grant was to provide funding to develop their first film about the saddle maker, Brian Esslinger.

Elliot and his crew: Justin Brodin, Eric Kucinski and Sam Hedlum, all Bozeman residents, officially launched the trailer on Dec. 3, 2014. The trailer briefly introduces four craftsmen: Brian Esslinger, “The Saddle Maker”; Cate Havstad, “The Hatter”; Eric Dewey,  “The Blacksmith”; and Thomas McGuane, “The Knife Maker,” who are going to be featured in the four films.

By Jan. 27 the trailer had over 43,000 views on Facebook and the film crew has a lot of comments and inquiries from all over the country. On Wednesday, Jan. 28., the crew is met with the Montana Film Office again to talk about further funding for their projects.

Each short film features a different artisan, unveiling the stories behind the makers and what it means to be a craftsman by trade in the world today,” according to The Handmade Movement site. “The idea was to take a cinematic look into each personal experiences. Especially those that compelled them to practice these age old crafts. Thus each featured artisan was chosen, not just on the quality of their productions, but also on the content of their backstories.”

Before working on The Handmade Movement, Lindsey had been working mostly with commercial videos for over 10 years. But he was always surrounded by artists and craftsmen that inspired him. Lindsey had been creating the idea of the project for over two years before applying for the development grant.

After a few months of waiting, Lindsey got an answer from the Montana State Film Office providing the grant to support this project. Besides the film series about craftsmen background and how they learned their skills, workshop demonstration videos will be on the website as well. One of Lindsey’s main goals is to make these unique old crafts available for anybody who wishes to learn them.

“Hopefully this site will be the place where people from all over the world will go and look at work and videos of all kind of artists,” Lindsey says.

The film crew hopes to explore more unique makers with interesting stories and expand their project. But at this point they are working hard on the rest of the films about the craftsmen highlighted in the trailer. The first film about Brian Esslinger is already in the editing process.

For more information, visit the interactive website for the project at: http://www.thehandmademovement.com/

– Edited by Nicole Duggan

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