Introducing Mike Dreesman, Real Montana competing filmmaker

April 21, 2015

How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?

I loved going to the movies as a kid sometimes seeing the same movie over and over again. Later, my friends and I would have weekend movie marathons sneaking into, err, I mean attending, several films in one day, Around that same time I was introduced to my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, followed shortly by a Minolta SR1 35mm single lens reflex. By the seventh grade, I was entering and sometimes winning photo contests and in eighth grade I was asked to take pictures for our yearbook. What I really loved was going to L.A. Rams football games with my Dad and sneaking (I did a lot of sneaking in those days) onto the sidelines with my camera, trying to blend in and shoot with the pro photographers from The L.A. Times, Sports Illustrated , and NFL Films for as long as I could before security would spot me and send me on my way. My love of wild places, and the desire to share the beauty I experience with others through moving images, inspired me to focus my lens on the natural world. Marlin Perkins and his Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom TV show may have had something to do with it as well.

What is your favorite part about the short film form?

I like that the short film format allows me to succinctly convey a thought, an emotion, or an idea in an approachable way.

Who were the people that supported the making of this film?

The folks at Tempest Technologies in Helena and Missoula have supported me in the making of the films for the Real Montana contest, and for the other films I have made for SouthWest Montana and Central Montana.

Screenshot 2015-04-21 10.55.50

Still from Dreesman’s “Glacier National Park.”

What resources do you use as a filmmaker?

On a typical shoot, it is just me, my RED Dragon camera and my tripod (Vinten 3AS). Occasionally the team at Tempest lends a hand. On the Sweet Palace and Biking in the Big Sky shoots, the whole Tempest crew showed up to help with logistics, battery swaps, lighting, lens changes, model release forms and so on. Once I’ve finished shooting, I edit with Final Cut Pro on my MacBook Pro.

What is your next project?

Currently, I have been filming Yellowstone National Park in 4K to go along with the HD Blu-Ray of Glacier National Park that Tempest released a few years ago. I am also working on a project called Montana from the Air.

Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?

My two main influences are Dr. Charles (Chuck) Jonkel, who founded the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, and Daniel Zatz, a natural history filmmaker from Alaska. I was a student when Dr. Chuck Jonkel was working at the university. I was inspired by his fascination with nature and wildlife. I got to work with him through the International Wildlife Film Festival and through the Great Bear Foundation. Working with Daniel Zatz convinced me to switch from Wildlife Biology to Film. I had the opportunity to spend a summer as an intern with him while he was filming bears in Alaska. It was an incredible experience.


Follow Mike Dreesman and Tempest Technologies’ career at The Audience Awards

The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.


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