Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fundraiser showcases 'Fishtail' filmmaker, raises money for a good cause


The Stillwater Protective Association preserves life in the beautiful Stillwater Valley, here, near Nye. The frundraiser 
July 26 will feature film clips from "Fishtail," shot on the Fishtail Basin Ranch owned by the Abbott family. 

"Fishtail" offers familiar
scenes of the valley in calving season.

and courtesy "Fishtail" documentary archives

ONCE A YEAR, lovers of our quality life in Stillwater County gather to support the continued good works of the Stillwater Protective Association and boost the organization's coffers.
The grassroots group is proud of its "watchdog" efforts to insure that nearby Stillwater Mine keeps its operation clean and maintains good faith with the community.
SPA's 2015 fundraiser features a visit from filmmaker Andrew Renzi, whose friendship with the Franny Abbott family inspired his 2014 documentary, "Fishtail."
CLIPS FROM the acclaimed film will be shown at the annual SPA summer event, Sunday, July 26, at the Anipro Event Center south of  Absarokee.  Doors open at 4 p.m. with the program at 4:30 p.m.  Filmmaker and award winning director Renzi will show film clips and share his experience in making the ranch life documentary set in Fishtail.
AS ALWAYS, hors d'oeuvres are on tap, prepared this year by Montana Wild Flower Kitchen. Live and silent auction items -- from art to books and rafting and fishing trips -- will be offered.
The history of SPA dates back to 1975, when residents gathered to commit to preserving Stillwater County’s rural and agricultural quality of life while encouraging responsible growth.
Its pursuits include limiting the footprint of Beartooth Mine on the Beartooth Plateau and providing for the clean-up of mine waste and other industrial hazards.
Fishtail Basin Ranch1
Fishtail Basin Ranch's entrance.
Raffle tickets will be sold and the winner takes home a selection of wines. 

Franny Abbott, who with his wife, also named Franny, owns the Fishtail Basin
Ranch, at last year's event. A visit by filmmaker Andrew Renzi, a classmate
of one of the Abbott sons, inspired the making of the film, "Fishtail."
THE FILM, "Fishtail," features narration by renowned character actor Harry Dean Stanton, known for his quirky roles in a distinguished 45-year career. The film, set on the Fishtail Basin Ranch on Fiddler Creek, details ranch life's joys and 
hardships, including an unusual calf birthing sequence. Director Renzi's visits and longtime friendship with Tylee Abbott inspired the film.
Andrew as director followed Tylee and ranch manager Brian Young for four days during calving season, using a 50-pound, 16mm camera.
Actor Harry Dean Stanton, known for
his craggy looks and unusual "lived in"
voice, does the narration for "Fishtail."
 One reviewer called the narration "beautiful, a rough recording of Harry Dean Stanton reading poetry….I was mesmerized..." The film's faded colors and grainy texture combine with natural wonders to create a vintage look, an old-fashioned ode to a bygone time.
SPA EVENT goers will endorse by their presence a unique "Good Neighbor Agreement," signed by SPA, Northern Plains Resource
Director Andrew Renzi will be on hand at the SPA
fundraiser, to introduce clips from the film.
Council, Cottonwood Resource Council, and Stillwater Mining Company. It is the world's only legally binding document between citizen groups and a hard-rock mining company. SPA is an affiliate of the Billings-based Northern Plains Resource Council which encompasses 13 communities across Montana, from Helena to Glendive and Gardiner to Circle.
A "Cork-a-Doodle" wine auction features raffle tickets for $5 (5 for $20) for a chance to win a dozen bottles of fine wines.
Tickets are $30 if reserved by July 19; $35 at the door; children under 12 are free.  RSVP to stillwaterpa@gmail.com or 406 248-1154. Contact Barb Lischer for the wine raffle 406 328-7139.

 Bob Whiting, MD, with his
saxophone and clarinet.

UP NEXT: On the trail of history and summer fun, we visit  an unusual retired Hardin doctor with a yen for music.  Then we take a look at the amazing museum: Big Horn County Historical Museum in Hardin.  This unusual 35-acre complex houses 24 historic structures.  But the main museum building is a masterpiece of preservation and integration of the old with the new. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Wednesdays and weekends at www.whereiscookie.com


  1. Just saw the film and it evokes a lost time, which makes it have something in common with the SPA, a grassroots, old-fashioned organization that works to keep the land pristine and waters clean, has a big party once a year!

  2. Sweetgrass sojournersJuly 16, 2015 at 12:29 PM

    We have tickets -- driving in from Sweetgrass County.
    Looking forward. Thanks for the enticing reminder.