The Inaugural Grand Teton Film Festival is tonight and tomorrow in Rexburg. The festival includes feature-length and short films. Film directors and performing artists will also come together and share advice and give tips to those who are seeking to learn more about the art of filmmaking.
Josh and Tate Smith, brothers and former students at BYU-Idaho were invited to showcase their work at this year’s film festival.
The Smith brothers remember playing make-believe in their backyard from a young age. Their creative minds lead them to study filmmaking at college.
Josh’s real filming experience came from his time at BYU-Idaho.
BYU-Idaho gives students hands on experience, he said. He got involved in Soapbox, the student-run advertising agency on campus, his freshman year. It gave him opportunities to travel, make commercials and film video professionally.
Tate was an economics major when he first started college. He later discovered filmmaking was the direction he wanted to pursue.
He also did Soapbox, which helped him understand the technical side of filmmaking. One of his favorite classes was film analysis. This helped him learn how to tell stories in a creative way.
Throughout their time living in Idaho, they wanted to write a film that portrayed the feeling of the West. They decided to write a movie about mountain men. The story of mountain men fit the environment and nature of Idaho more than cowboys and Indians did, Tate said.
The name of their movie is, “Iron Brothers.”
“Iron Brothers” is about two brothers who struggle to survive one winter during the decline of the fur trade, Josh said.
“The beaver industry was declining and the gold rush was increasing and so mountain men were becoming extinct,” Tate said. “It’s their adaptation of survival. The main plot line is the struggle between the white man and the Native Americans.” The majority of the movie was filmed in Ririe, Idaho on a ranch owned by the family of Tate’s friend. They feel blessed they were able to film their movie on the land at no cost.
During the winter months, when the movie was being filmed, many obstacles presented themselves for the Smith brothers.
Those involved experienced the extreme cold weather of Idaho and the possibility of getting vehicles and equipment stuck in the snow.
“Being out in the middle of nowhere actually freezing I definitely think enhanced the performances in the film and made them very real,” Tate said. “It made for some really authentic performances.”
Throughout their time making film, capturing individual’s faces is the best advice Josh has received.
“When you capture the people’s faces, we connect with that,” he said. “The viewer sees what’s going on with the person’s face and they connect with the struggle or the joy.”
The Smith’s hope people will walk out of their movie just feeling something.
“I love filmmaking so much because of its incredible strength and power to make people feel things, whether it be fear or pain or happiness,” Josh said. “As a film maker, just getting any sort of reaction is pleasant and is rewarding.”
“Iron Brothers” will play at Paramount 5 in Rexburg on June 1 at 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are available at https://www.grandtetonfilm.org/tickets/.
The movie is also available on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon.