Critically acclaimed film ‘Wildlife’ screened at Museum at Central School

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    Kalispell native Travis Bruyer on the set of “Wildlife” in October 2017 in Livingston.

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    Travis Bruyer on the set with ‘Wildlife’ film director and actor Paul Dano

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    Kalispell native Travis Bruyer on the set of “Wildlife” in October 2017 in Livingston.

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    Travis Bruyer on the set with ‘Wildlife’ film director and actor Paul Dano

The Museum at Central School will host a one-night screening of the Montana Film Festival Roadshow’s Montana-made, critically acclaimed feature film “Wildlife” at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, at the Museum at Central School, 124 Second Ave E., in Kalispell. This may be the only chance to see this film playing in Kalispell.

In the story based on Richard Ford’s novel by the same name, 14-year-old Joe (Ed Oxenbould) is the only child of Jeanette and Jerry — a housewife (Carey Mulligan) and a golf pro (Jake Gyllenhaal) — living in Great Falls in the 1960s. Nearby, an uncontrolled forest fire rages close to the Canadian border, and when Jerry loses his job — and his sense of purpose — he decides to join the cause of fighting the fire, leaving his wife and son to fend for themselves. Suddenly forced into the role of an adult, Joe witnesses his mother’s struggle as she tries to keep her head above water.

Actor Paul Dano makes an impressive debut as a filmmaker and — along with co-writer Zoe Kazan — elegantly adapts Ford’s novel. Mulligan delivers one of her finest performances as a complex woman whose self-determination and self-involvement disrupts the values and expectations of the 1960s nuclear family. With precise details and textures of its specific time and place, “Wildlife” exposes the viewpoint of a teenage boy observing the gradual dissolution of his parents’ marriage.

Travis Bruyer, the founder and director of the Montana Institute for the Arts in Kalispell, was involved in the production of “Wildlife.”

Raised in Kalispell, Bruyer studied film and television at Montana State University, prior to enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard. During his military career he worked in search and rescue, immigration and law enforcement. After active duty he has worked in a wide variety of investigative and law enforcement capacities.

In his roughly 20-year career in Montana and Flathead County law enforcement, Bruyer has served in defensive tactical, and as a detective, patrol and public information officer.

After seeing the need for accuracy and realism in the portrayal of military and law enforcement on the screen, he became involved in the film industry, initially in security and as a consultant, and then appearing in a number of films.

In a small role in the beginning of “Wildlife,” Bruyer plays a Forest Service officer explaining fire dangers to the community.

“I was called by the casting director and sent a read of the script,” Bruyer said. He was hired and spent a couple days with Dano filming in Livingston.

Bruyer founded the Montana Institute for the Arts in February of 2017 together with writer and director Michael Polish and his wife, actress Kate Bosworth.

“After working on a number of sets, I saw that Montana people were often not being paid,” Bruyer said. “I started this nonprofit to grow the workforce in the industry, put people to work and keep the money in Montana.”

The Montana Institute offered a film class in 2017 taught by Polish and Bosworth. They found the students who took advantage of the unique opportunity became immersed not just in learning more about the film industry but also more about themselves.

“Everybody’s life has a story,” he said.

The institute plans to partner with Flathead Valley Community College in 2019 to offer another film class.

Bruyer will be introducing the screening of “Wildlife” at the Museum at Central School.

Tickets are $10 and are only available at the museum. Proceeds from ticket sales will be split equally between the Montana Film Festival and the Northwest Montana Historical Society.

The show is expected to sell out. Wine, beer, pop and water will be available for purchase. Seating is provided, but guests can bring their own floor pillows, portable chairs, or whatever is comfortable for viewing the film. Call 756-8381 for more information.

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