Making Movies and Artists in Montana

Working with Montana public schools, retired Hollywood producer, local rancher and now high school media mogul Peter Rosten is the keystone in Montana’s plan for economic success in the future. The new strategy? Movie making.

Montana passed ambitious legislation in 2005 and again in 2007 that creates deep tax incentives and other support structures for filming efforts in the state. Rosten’s organization, Media Arts in the Public Schools, founded in 2004, aims to give those filmmakers the trained workforce they need to take advantage of those incentives.

MAPS’ mission is to educate students and to create quality jobs for youth. It is an arts partnership with schools that creates entrepreneurs from hands-on learning. MAPS achieves its goals through arts training, developing students’ individual voices, communication skills and confidence. In the process of building something both artistic and marketable, students learn teamwork, leadership, critical thinking and problem solving. MAPS is uniquely sustainable, 40 percent of its revenue comes from fee-based client services.

Backing up a solid program design are MAPS’ influential clients. Montana’s Tobacco Use Prevention program granted funds to MAPS students to create anti-smoking spots. These ads, made by three students, ages 13, 16 and 19, at Darby High School, were ultimately purchased for national broadcast by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Robert Lynch