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Sundance Film Festival

Made-in-Montana movie gets coveted Sundance slot for world premiere

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Lily Gladstone

Lily Gladstone

A film with “Montana” written all over it – well, except in its title – will make its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in Utah next month.

“Certain Women” is set in Montana, was made in Montana, is based on short stories by a native of Montana, and its cast includes two actresses from Montana.

The movie traces how the lives of two lawyers, a cowboy and married couple intersect in the “new West.” It is based on “Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It,” a 2009 collection of short stories by Helena native Maile Meloy.

Laura Dern (“Wild,” “Jurassic Park”) heads the cast, which also stars Kalispell native Michelle Williams (twice nominated for Academy Awards, for “Brokeback Mountain” and “Blue Valentine”), and Missoula actress Lily Gladstone, who grew up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

Also starring are Kristen Stewart of “The Twilight Saga” films series, Roseanna Arquette, James Le Gros and Jared Harris.

Kelly Reichardt wrote and directed the movie. She also directed Williams in two previous films, “Wendy and Lucy” and “Meek’s Cutoff.”


In “Certain Women,” Dern plays a lawyer trying to defuse a hostage situation involving a disgruntled client (Harris). Williams and Le Gros are a couple whose marriage runs into unexpected problems. Gladstone is a ranch hand who forms an attachment to a young attorney (Stewart).

“Official selection to Sundance is a coveted reward for the dedicated work of independent filmmakers and Montana’s production workforce,” Deny Staggs, Montana film commissioner, said.

It’s the third Montana-made film to debut at Sundance, and the first in more than 10 years. Previous ones were “Who Killed Cock Robin?” in 2005, and “The Slaughter Rule” in 2002.

“Certain Women” was filmed in the Bozeman and Livingston areas over 30 days in March and April, using a largely Montana-based crew and spending $1.4 million in the state.

Sundance, the largest independent film festival in the nation, recently named “Certain Women” one of the 17 films that will be screened for the first time ever during the festival’s Jan. 21-31 run in Utah.

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