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FLIC showcases other lives, places, stories

by BERL TISKUS
Reporter | February 22, 2024 12:00 AM

On a cold and snowy winter weekend, the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC) provided an interesting and fun indoor event at Showboat Stadium 6.

This year’s film entries – including narrative shorts and features, documentaries and animated films – hailed from

15 countries, with 14 Montana-made entries as well.

“Uprooted,” a Montana film, won the Audience Award. Filmmaker Melea BurkeIt told the story of Roger Castillo, who as a young child was one of many babies and children airlifted to the United States after the Vietnam War because they were mixed race. 

Haunted by wanting information about his father, an American GI, and his biological mother and foster mother in Vietnam, Castillo painstakingly tells his story while making honey apple wine. 

Burke attended grad school at the University of Montana and formerly was a journalist at the Valley Journal and a Mission Valley resident. 

Another Mission Valley resident, filmmaker Jared Wiseloh, made a music video called “The Angels Sing.” Most of the video was filmed in Jared’s pasture near Polson on a piano hauled in with a grapple hook.

Wiseloh’s friend, Adam, wrote a poem for his mother about another son’s death in combat and her faith in reunion with him in heaven. He asked Jared to write a song using the poem for lyrics. Jared said he’s not good at composing, but he wrote it in three hours.  

“God helped me write it,” Jared said.

The piano is used more as a prop than a musical instrument since the keys don’t resonate. Jared also produces music videos by his wife, Colleen, who writes her own songs and does Christmas covers.

A short film called “Hedgehog” isn’t based in Montana, but in the Ukraine/Russia conflict. The film scooped up three awards: Best Cinematography, Mark David; Best Actress - Emma Pearson; and Best Short Film. 

Filmmaker Dmitry Gefland, who was born in Russia, but has lived in the USA for many years, told the audience, “I wanted to use the most innocent voice possible, a 6-year-old child who sees this conflict through a very unique prism, human kindness.”

“Through her actions, I wanted to affirm the message of  compassion and love,” he added. 

“Les Filles du Roi” also claimed a slew of awards, including Best Original Score, Best Director and Best Feature for director Corey Payette. It tells the story of a young Mohawk woman and her brother, whose lives are disrupted by the arrival of the “king's daughters,” young French women sent to New France to marry and have children.

Other winners include: Impact Award – Toni Young Whealon; Best Animation – Manny; Best Montana Film – Saving for the Day; Best Original Score, Best Director and Best Feature – Corey Payette and Julie McIsaac,; Best Actor – Rasmus Hammerich, On My Mind; Best Documentary Short – From the Heartland; Best Documentary Feature – Out There: A National Parks Story; and Audience Award – Uprooted.

To see these films or others from FLIC, encore screenings continue through Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. nightly. 

Check  www.flicpolson.com for a schedule of film showings.

    Roger Castillo, the subject of Melea Burkelt's film "Uprooted," takes questions during this year's FLIC. The film won the Audience Award. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    People wait for the first of a block of films at FLIC on Saturday afternoon. (Berl Tiskus/Leader)
 
 
    FLIC 2024 award winners gathered for a group photo after awards were presented.(berl Tiskus/Leader)