During the first week of May, the Black Hills Film Festival will show 60 films from across the U.S. and beyond. Six South Dakota-based films were nominated for “Best” in several of the festival’s categories. All show why film festivals are springing up across the nation and drawing ever-larger audiences. Click the links and take a look! THE PACT: A film by the Toronto Brothers, The Pact is subtitled “A Bromatic Comedy, Two Brothers, One Year, No Women,” and tells the tale of two brothers who make a pact to live a year without any woman in their lives. As the year progresses, each brother struggles to uphold the bargain in the face of a variety temptations and frustrations. Of course, an especially tempting woman enters the mix, and trouble ensues. … “As their relationship is put to the test, they find that the pact has little to do with women at all. The pact, an emblem of brotherly love and devotion, is really about loyalty ... to each other.” http://www.watchthepact.com/#!videos PRAIRIE SONATA: This short film, set in the 1930s, was shot in Beresford, with residents providing authentic props and costumes. It tells the story of a spinster who is in love with her best friend’s husband. Tragedy strikes, the friendship dissolves, leaving the women bereft and the small community in disarray. The film is described as a “lushly visual, quiet and poetic homage to the intrepid women who helped forge the American heartland.” This summer, crews plan to return to Beresford to extend the short into a feature length film. http://www.keloland.com/videoarchive/index.cfm?videofile=071910movie UP NOT DOWN: A documentary project by Josh Bart, the film, in Bart’s words, is “about people, past and present, who have made climbing in the Black Hills possible. From the earliest Black Hills climbing pioneers Herb and Jan Conn, to the Black Hills young guns. When I started this film, I had no script, agenda, or budget. Eventually all three of those things took form as I discovered how art, history, and passion can combine to tell a story.” http://upnotdown.com/index.html TAKE A SEAT: Adventure filmmaker Dominic Gill documents his 4500-mile, 104-day adventure across America, including an episode that takes him through the Badlands – as he rides a specially adapted tandem bike that he shares with 10 companion adventurers with varying disabilities. One of his companions is Kelly Lane of Rapid City, who rode with Gill for 600 miles from Rapid City to Minneapolis. Lane has Parkinson’s Disease, and in the film he gives an “intimate view into the life of an otherwise active optimistic person whose existence is made infinitely more difficult by a degenerative disease.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byIC5A70zTc A THICK DARK FOG: A documentary by Randy Vasquez tells the story of Walter Littlemoon, “who was forced to attend a Federal Government Boarding School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in the 1950s, where his culture, language and spirituality were brutally suppressed.” At age 60, Littlemoon embarks on a quest to heal himself and reclaim his heritage. http://www.thickdarkfog.com/?page_id=11 LANGUAGE OF THE UNHEARD: A documentary filmed by Jac Reyno and Matt Litwiller is a series of vignettes, allowing individual members of the Oglala Sioux tribe at Pine Ridge to relate stories that tell of their struggles and hopes. According to the film makers: We hope that through this film, we can begin to get an idea of who people of Pine Ridge really are, and what stories they have to share. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=290586167691038&set=vb.109200499162940&type=2&theater By the way, noted filmmaker and Edgemont native Sean Covel’s latest project, “Matt Epic,” will be filmed this summer in the Black Hills. The producer of the 2004 cult hit, “Napoleon Dynamite,” along with top Hollywood casting directors, will host a casting call on Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, at the film festival. Folks can stop by Chute Roosters to sign in and receive a short scene to review before reading. Call back auditions will be held in Hill City May 7-8. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/MattEpicMovie. For a full schedule and description of all of the films and activities, go to www.BlackHillsFilmFestival.org. Festival passes can be purchased online or by calling 574-9454.