GREAT FALLS – Production on a major motion picture about a Montana murder is underway in the Great Falls area.
The story focuses on Clem Pellett whose grandfather, Clarence Pellett, was murdered in 1951. Frank Dryman was later convicted for the murder.
Dryman was sentenced to life in the Montana State Prison in 1955 but was released on parole in 1969.
A few years later, he disappeared and remained a fugitive until Clem Pellett tracked him down in Arizona in 2010.
The film tells the story of how Pellett found Dryman almost four decades after he disappeared.
Over the last year, producers have been in Montana for preproduction on the project.
According to Pellett, raising the funds for the film took some time.
“Now it has taken awhile to do the funding because many states are actively going after movie money, giving intensives. Montana does not happen to be one of those. Which is fine, so what we had to do is get creative and do some other private financing but we are getting that in line,” Pellett said. “We are still welcoming any participation form Montana but we are planning to to come back here in March and get started.”
Producer and writer Fred Fontana, producer Peter Sobich and cinematographer Jeremy Miller were in Montana in February touring for filming locations.
The movie will primarily be shot in Shelby, Great Falls and areas along the Hi-Line.
“I am adamant that we film it here because it is a Montana story. It needs to be told in Montana and I am adamant at that,” Pellett said. “Plus from the atmosphere of the movie, a lot of the original places are still here. We do not have to make up Georgia to look like Montana and look like where things occurred. It is all right here for us.”
Lindsay Wagner, Isabel Glasser, Victor McKay, and Kam Dabrowski have signed on to star in the film.
Pellett said there were many other actors who also expressed interest in the movie.
“This whole story from finding out about my grandfather’s murder to getting the murderer captured, I have kind of rediscovered my roots so this is completing the circle to tell the story right here in Montana,” Pellett said.