Police Blotter

Flathead County Sheriff’s and Kalispell Police Reports

Making Fishing Films on the Fly

By Molly Priddy

As the lead fly fishing guide for Glacier Anglers, Ryan Thompson knows what it’s like to introduce people to the rivers and the thrill and skill involved in angling. And as a videographer and film producer with a recent award under his belt, his audience just got a lot bigger.

Thompson, along with his film team member George White, won the People’s Choice Award for his film, “Lights Out,” at the Simms 2012 Shoot Out. The Shoot Out is a competition that pairs regional videographers with fly fishing guides to make impromptu films in less than a week.

Thompson has spent the last five or six years working with outdoor filming and production companies, including Warren Miller Entertainment. Last winter, he toured with The Fly Fishing Film Tour, a traveling festival featuring anglers and their prey.

He spent a lot of time promoting other people’s films, which drove him to work on his own projects.

“After you watch them enough, you start going, ‘Man, I don’t really want to armchair quarterback other people’s films anymore – I want to start doing this on my own,’” Thompson said.

While on that tour, he made several short films about fishing, Thompson said. The tour’s owners emailed him about the Simms Shoot Out, and Thompson entered a couple of films but did not expect to make it far in the selection process.

“I thought I wasn’t at that level,” Thompson said.

But the competition’s unique rules – filming can begin at 6 a.m. on a Monday and the movie has to be complete and turned in by 6 p.m. on Wednesday – presented familiar deadlines for Thompson.

A week after entering, Thompson got an email notifying him that he had been selected. From there, things began moving fast, he said.

“You’ve just got to embrace the chaos and have a good time,” Thompson said.

He chose White, who guides trips in Idaho, as his partner, because White is comfortable in front of or behind the camera, Thompson said, and is gregarious enough to be a funny presence if they decided to go the comedic route.

Simms paired the team with company guide Joe Dilschneider, who White and Thompson had never met before. Dilschneider happened to have permission to fish on spring creeks at a private ranch, Thompson said, where they filmed their movie.

“It ended up being one of the best days of fishing I’ve ever been a part of,” Thompson said. “We caught a lot of big fish, so that helped.”

But Thompson didn’t have much time to reflect on the day’s catch; the clock was ticking and he had a film to edit. Since the competition began on April 16, he had until April 18 to finish.

“There’s not a lot of sleep and there’s a lot of coffee and late-night if not all-night editing sessions,” Thompson said.

On April 19, they presented “Lights Out” at the Simms 2012 Ice Out event in Bozeman, where three other teams of filmmakers also showed their work. Thompson’s film got second place, though it earned the People’s Choice Award for the Simms Shoot Out competition, which was judged by the public online.

“We’re really pleased with it,” Thompson said.

The experience spurred Thompson, who also owns Swift Current Productions, to begin more projects, with his next focus on westslope cutthroat trout in the West Glacier area.

“Lights Out” is still viewable on the Simms website at www.simmsfishing.com/site/iceout_shootout, as well as Thompson’s production company’s site, www.swiftcurrentproductions.com.

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