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Great Falls filmmaker producing documentary about high school play

Posted at 2:27 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 18:22:22-04

GREAT FALLS – An encore performance of Converge: E Pluribus Unum will be held on Tuesday featuring high school students from Great Falls High School, Paris Gibson Education Center and C.M. Russell High School.

If you did not catch the original performances or the encore, there’s one more opportunity to see the play next month.

Great Falls filmmaker, Tim Ljunggren, has been there sine the start and is working on a documentary covering the play’s process from the first interviews to the final curtain call.

“I think the Great Falls community has no idea what our young people go through on a daily basis,” Ljunggren said.

Ljunggren has been in the industry for ten years. He’s worked on pieces for the YWCA and other nonprofit organizations.

He said this one differs from the others because it’s based on a live performance.

“The students who actually took on the actual stories, they actually morphed into the stories themselves. I had a hard time separating out the student’s rendition on stage with what I actually heard. They were so close. They paralleled. The emotions. Even the body language itself,” Ljunggren said.

He’s sat in on over 80 hours of interviews, attended every rehearsal and seen the performance more times than he can count.

“The stories of abuse really hit me hard. Parents who are really drug addicted themselves who can’t take care of the younger children in the household,” Ljunggren said.

When he was asked to take on the role for the project, he just could not resist.

“For me, it was just about getting the stories out to the community so they are more aware about what’s going on underneath the surface. Of what our young people are going through on a daily, daily basis. I always thought this project is a precursor to the future. These young people are going to be taking care of me 10-20 years down the road, either as doctors or lawyers or police officers or firefighters. We need to be supporting them now,” Ljunggren said.

The play’s encore performance will be Tuesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at Great Falls High.

“If we can honor the people that we interviewed in September and get their stories right so people can understand not only what they went through, but what other people are going through right now, then I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do,” Ljunggren said.

As for Ljunggren’s documentary, you will have to wait until May.

His documentary, also called Converge: E Plribus Unum, will be shown at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center at 7 p.m. on May 19th.

Great Falls high schools join forces to send powerful message during performance

Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News