BOZEMAN--- The Gallatin County Fairgrounds and Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply in Bozeman are just two of many locations in town where a movie was filmed, starring local actors. One of them you might recognize from a classic.
Michael Spears has lived in Bozeman for 17 years. He is known for many acting roles that honor his culture, including his film debut in "Dances with Wolves."
“My father really had to push me,” said Spears. “He said, ‘Be that Lakota. You’re going to be that person that shows them how a real Lakota looks, behave and acts’.”
Spears also has ties to MSU. He works in cultural resources for the American Indian Council.
“I work to revitalize and keep our singing culture intact around the drums and the Lakota value system,” said Spears. “I hope to share this with more students.”
In the film The Year of the Dog, filmed around Bozeman and Livingston, Spears was given yet another opportunity to do just that. The film touches on many important topics. Like addiction and stereotypes of Native Americans.
“Chief Wahoo and the Tomahawk Chop, all of that stuff directly affects native communities today,” said Spears. Our visibility and self-esteem is something that is still vulnerable.”
Spears says it’s important for Native Americans to look to the media and see accurate representation.
“I believe that keeping the integrity and truth alive is very important and I’m looking forward to the conversations this film is going to spark.”
The Year of the Dog is an independent feature written, produced, co-directed and acted in by Rob Grabow. He describes the film as a passion project.
“I sold my condo in Livingston to help finance this film because I believed in the story so much,” said Grabow.
The cast and crew are pulled largely from Montana. Grabow says about 20-30 people from Bozeman were involved. He calls this an honor.
“To have my family from this area and so many of us from here it just means so much to us,” said Grabow. “We’re really proud of that.”
To purchase tickets, visit https://www.theyearofthedogmovie.com/screenings [theyearofthedogmovie.com]: