The Focus is on Trains at This Year’s Black Hills Film Festival

cropped-black-hills-film-festival-logoThe 2015 Black Hills Film Festival will be held May 6-10 in Hill City and Rapid City with a Focus  on Trains . . . our favorite subject.  In partnership with the South Dakota State Railroad Museum (Museum) and the Black Hills Central Railroad (BHC), the Festival will feature the role of trains in the life of South Dakotans and in film.

“Trains create a fascinating story line for movies: danger, suspense and romance,” says BHC President Meg Warder. “Movies are a way of keeping the history of railroading alive today for the public. The BHC and Museum are supporting the Black Hills Film Festival to promote trains in all forms of media.”

The BHC has a long history with the movie industry. In fact, a 1970 Gunsmoke episode, a 1971Walt Disney production of Scandalous John and the 1979 CBS production of Orphan Train were filmed in cooperation with the railroad.

More recently, the 1880 Train has been a part of the following productions: South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Dakota Pathways, the Love Train Music Video with Big and Rich, a General Hospital episode, a Discovery Channel production, a History Channel production and more.  The 1880 Train was even featured in the 2005 Into the West miniseries by Steven Spielberg.

Some of the ways the Festival will feature trains include:

Jim Clark, who coordinated the train scenes featuring the 1880 Train in Into the West, will give a short history of trains in the movies and explain the technical aspects of working with trains. Clark is a veteran of over 250 films. His association with some of the biggest train films and stars in Hollywood, including The Lone Ranger; Wild, Wild, West; Under Siege Two; Fast and the Furious; Water For Elephants; and Into The West and film clips of two dozen action sequences will leave you breathless.
Saturday May 9, 3:15 pm Hill City High School Theatre, Hill City, SD. 

THE TRANSCONTINENTAL UNION PACIFIC IN TERRITORIAL TIMES  Director of the South Dakota State Railroad Museum Rick Mills will discuss the development of Dakota’s railroading since the 1860s, including the cultural changes in Dakota Territory in that time and what influences railroading today.  Historical images, as well as a selection of contemporary railroad photography, will be featured in the program. Sunday May 10, 1 pm South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Hill City, SD

THE SHOWING OF UNION PACIFIC One of the last bills signed by President Abraham Lincoln authorizes pushing the Union Pacific Railroad across the wilderness to California. Financial opportunist Asa Barrows hopes to profit from obstructing it. Chief troubleshooter Jeff Butler has his hands full fighting Barrows’ agent, gambler Sid Campeau; Campeau’s partner Dick Allen is Butler’s war buddy and rival suitor for the engineer’s daughter Molly Monahan. Who will survive the effort to push the railroad through at any cost? Barbara Stanwyck and Joel McCrea make an incredible on-screen duo as co-stars, and the train wreck is impressive.
Sunday, May 10, 1:30 pm South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Hill City, SD

Purchase Session Tickets for these activities for $10 the day of the presentation or sessions are included at no extra charge with the purchase of any Festival Pass. Visit the website at for more information. The Black Hills Film Festival showcases the newest voices in independent film, but it also provides structured classes and forums for film artists to sharpen their craft and share their skill. Classes are taught by notable film professionals and are free to participating filmmakers.

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