The Bozeman Film Society begins their 2023 season of bringing outstanding films to Bozeman with the locally produced film, THE YEAR OF THE DOG, screening at the Ellen Theatre on Jan. 4th. We spoke with Rob Grabow, who wrote, produced, co-directed, co-edited, and starred in, this film.
A portion of the proceed benefits the Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter.
As it says on the film’s website, https://www.theyearofthedogmovie.com/
Rob landed his first movie role at 15 in the Oscar-nominated film starring Ethan Hawke, Snow Falling on Cedars. He’s been hooked since then. More recently, he has had speaking roles in the Syfy series Z Nation and the critically acclaimed film Mickey and the Bear, which premiered at Cannes and SXSW film festivals.
He wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the multi-award-winning short film Method, which premiered at the Chelsea Film Festival, where Academy Award-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) awarded Rob the Best Original Screenplay award. Rob was also nominated for Best Actor and Best Director at the Beaufort International Film Festival. He is an alum of the MFA Acting program at the Actor’s Studio Drama School in New York.
Some of Rob’s more esoteric life highlights include backpacking into Egypt two weeks before the war in Iraq, consulting Bhutan on its public advertising policy, and traveling to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake to write an article for Rolling Stone magazine.
Also featured is Michael Spears, the famous Lakota actor who has lived in Bozeman for 17+ years. Michael Spears’s role as Otter in Dances with Wolves (1990) catapulted him into film, music, and public speaking. Some of Spears’s career highlights since Dances with Wolves include his role as Dog Star in Spielberg’s 2005 miniseries Into the West and his role as Tenkill in Angels in Stardust (2014), for which he received critical acclaim in The New York Times. In 2014 and 2015, Spears played Savanukah in Colonial Williamsburg’s open-air stage production of The Beloved Women of Chota, the first Indigenous-centric production of its kind for Colonial Williamsburg. Spears also works in the film industry as a technical adviser for Native American cultures, soundtrack recording artist, and voiceover actor. When not filming, he travels as a keynote speaker on topics such as indigenous health and wellness, mental health, and Lakota spirituality.
Of course, one of Rob’s co-stars is Caleb, a rescue dog who had bounced between foster homes for years because he was reportedly “too much dog”—is there such a thing? He eventually landed in the loving care of Cathy and Gregg Pittman of the Performing Animal Troupe. His crucial performance as Yup’ik, in The Year of the Dog marks Caleb’s feature-film debut. Rumors of Brando reincarnated floated around set.
Jon Proudstar is a veteran actor of forty-two productions. He is currently a reoccurring character on FX/Disney’s Reservation Dogs. Jon had six big releases in 2021, which include Reservation Dogs, The Heart Stays, Wastelander, Deep Woods, and Mammoth. A product of the Sundance Institute’s 1997 Native American Writers Lab, Proudstar was chosen for the 2005 Directors Lab, where he worked alongside Ed Harris, Stanley Tucci, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Robert Redford. Some of Proudstar’s more notable films are Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993 Cannes Film Festival), Skinwalkers, Barking Water, and Four Sheets to the Wind. Jon trained at Los Angeles Theatre and with legendary acting coach Joan Darling.
Darwin Lumbattis is a Butte-based Army Veteran who served 16 years including active-duty combat in Iraq from 1990-1992 before retiring as a Calvary Scout. He is an avid dog-safety advocate and founder of the Rocky Mountain Working Dogs. Darwin served as a key advisor on all matters concerning weight pulling — he also proved his acting chops during an audition and landed a key speaking role in the film.