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Libby, Montana Documentary a Finalist at 2004 IFP/NY Market & Conference


MISSOULA, Montana, September 15, 2004 --/WORLD-WIRE/--
Libby, Montana, the latest documentary feature from High Plains Films, will compete for the Documentary Award at the 26th IFP/NY Market. It will screen for the first time in New York at the Angelika Film Center, September 21, at 1:30 p.m.

Advance DVD and VHS copies are available for review by the press, exhibitors and distributors.


"Equal parts mystery, horror film, black comedy, corporate indictment and human tragedy - Libby, Montana is expertly compiled and genuinely compassionate. The film pulsates with urgency and commitment, and manages splendidly without the abrasive finger-pointing and knee-jerk aggression that has marred reportage in our age of so-called reality television." ­

" **** Best feature documentary of 2004." ­ Steve Fesenmaier, West Virginia Library Commission

"Incisive and unrelenting." ­ Mother Jones

"Emotionally gut-wrenching...To call this film a sprawling and ambitious documentary is an understatement. One can hardly avoid feeling like two hours isnıt long enough to devote to these people who gave their lives to the company mine." - Missoulian

"Compelling." Libby residents find themselves beleaguered by medical and economic questions in the wake of the mine shutdown and the bankruptcy proceedings of the former owners (as they try to dodge legal liability and the massive cleanup costs). Abandoned by their former employer, residents are divided over where to lay blame - on greedy company officers, or on government officials charged with regulating mining to ensure the public health and safety in Libby and in the 30 states and six countries where products were shipped." ­ Real Screen

"Carr and Hawes-Davis have never shied away from eliciting strong emotional responses, but this film reaches a new level. Its depth and pace, as well as the fantastic archival footage, give it gravitas." ­ High Country News

"Excellent...the film accurately tells the tale of Libby with home movies of local families and industry fluff pieces about mining and logging in northwest Montana. That eventually segues into the asbestos story. It paints a picture of a loving, caring family town where something went amiss." ­ The Western News


Libby, Montana was chosen as a finalist from the twenty feature documentaries that will be screened at IFP. IFP/NY is the largest market for independent documentaries in the U.S. The market, which is open to film industry reps, festival programmers, filmmakers and other market participants, will be followed by film festival screenings during the fall.

With a true story that unfolds like a Hollywood thriller, Libby, Montana chronicles what the EPA calls the worst case of community-wide exposure to a toxic substance in U.S. history.

For more than 30 years, multi-national corporation W.R. Grace employed residents of the bucolic mountain town of Libby, Montana to mine and process vermiculite. Used widely in products from home insulation to potting soil, what W. R. Grace and government officials knew -- but failed to reveal to its workers or the citizens of Libby -- was that the vermiculite dust, which coated nearly everything in the town as a result of the industry, contained a particularly lethal form of asbestos.

Nearly 1500 of Libbyıs 4500 residents have been diagnosed with some form of asbestos-related lung disease, and the U.S. Public Health Service estimates that approximately one third of the population has some type of lung abnormality. Asbestos exposure may still be occurring throughout the town - in homes, schools, playgrounds, and yards.

While the filmmakers documented the history of the town and the clean-up efforts of the federal government, the story grew beyond Libby and Congressional leaders in Washington, DC. began debating what to do about the millions of homes and businesses in the U.S. that still contain vermiculite from Libby.

Libby, Montana is a journey into a hard-working, blue-collar community that personifies the American Dream gone horribly wrong. Ronald Reagan, the Bush Administration, the E.P.A., Montana politicians and ordinary citizens of the small community all play a role in this American tragedy.

The film is the fourth feature-length project from Montana-based High Plains Films. It was produced, directed, shot and edited by Drury Gunn Carr and Doug Hawes-Davis and features an original score from Alabama musician Ned Mudd.

Libby, Montana will soon be released to theatrical, broadcast and educational markets.

Information on up-coming screenings at:

High Plains Films ­ (406) 728-0753 -

IPF/NY Market & Conference -

Full reviews, still images, a 2-minute trailer, poster art and more are available at:

Information on up-coming screenings available at:

High Plains Films
131 South Higgins Avenue, Suite 201
Missoula, Montana 59802
v - (406) 728-0753
e -
w -

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