Big Sky Documentary Film Festival - Montana premiere

For a few weeks now, I have been asking myself, “Why was screening the film here in Montana so much more emotional for me?”

Charged made its world premiere in front of 2,200+ people at the Historic Arlington Theatre in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara, Ca. on the third of February, 2017.  It truly was a night that will live in my memory for as long as I live. A red carpet walk up, dozens of cameras snapping away, lights streaming through the night sky, with a line of ticket holders stretched down the block. I will never forget the calm and collective chill that was deeply anchored in my core that night. 

 CHARGED Film Team! (from left to right) Doug Ellin, Teri Weinberg, Dennis Aig, Jennifer Jane, Eduardo Garcia, Phillip Baribeau, Peter Hochfelder, Scott Ballew 

CHARGED Film Team! (from left to right) Doug Ellin, Teri Weinberg, Dennis Aig, Jennifer Jane, Eduardo Garcia, Phillip Baribeau, Peter Hochfelder, Scott Ballew 

Only a few weeks later in Missoula, Montana, Charged was set to make it’s Montana premiere. A smaller theatre, a hometown crowd. Heck, I even drove my own truck to the screening. My entire family showed up and dozens upon dozens of friends were in attendance.  Outside of the Wilma Theatre, the crowd stood bundled up in a light falling snow. Through rosy cheeks, these Montanans smiled supportively as I walked by.  Some raised their fists to the air victoriously affirming their hearty desire to shoulder the cold, to wait in line. It was as if the perceived burden of waiting was the unspoken price of admission and a token sign of solidarity saying, “We are happy to be here for you, for this.”

 Pre-screening interview with Fox News outside of the historic Wilma Theatre. 

Pre-screening interview with Fox News outside of the historic Wilma Theatre. 

Inside, we took our seats. The film rolled and organically, the atmosphere changed immediately. I could easily define the ensuing 86 minutes as a raucous, expressive town hall meeting. The film was the topic for discussion and everyone’s voice was heard. The hoots of laughter, hoorahs and moments of pin-drop silence added to what I already considered a darn good score. A double standing ovation carried the evening to closure.

With so much support and with the geographic familiarity — why was I so darn nervous? I’m not quite at a definitive answer, but if I had to put my finger on it, I’d say it would have to do with this state we Montanans call home. Montana becomes its own character in this film. As a non-fictional tale, I feel a responsibility to this place I love so deeply and to those that also call it home.