Documentary film set for screening here features biorefinery plant

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The inside of the Algae AquaCulture Technologies plant on F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. property. (Courtesy photo)

The award-winning documentary “The Need To Grow” will be shown later this month in Whitefish. The film takes a look at activists and innovators in the food movement including the Flathead Valley’s Algae AquaCulture Technologies.

Algae AquaCulture is featured in the film, which is described as a solutions based film that looks at the “broken food system” and follows three stories that tackle the problem from different angles: activism, sustainable agriculture and renewable energy technologies.

Michael Smith, president of Algae AquaCulture, said the farmer featured in the film, Erik Cutter, had been using his products which ultimately prompted film makers to make the trip to Montana to visit the plant located on the F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber Co. property outside Columbia Falls.

“The film crew came up and they were totally amazed,” he said.

At his Green Power House plant, Smith has engineered a system that uses waste, like wood chips from lumber manufacturing, to cultivate algae and convert it into the methane. The byproduct created is nutrient-rich soil amendments.

“I figured out how to accelerate the regeneration of soil,” he explains.

During production of the film, in 2015 a fire burned the main powerhouse of the structure at Algae AquaCulture Technologies. A new, improved octagonal facility has since been rebuilt at the site and that journey was also documented in the film.

The film was created by filmmakers Rob Herring and Ryan Wirick, and executive producer Tanner Stewart. The film was also produced and narrated by actress Rosario Dawson.

A screening of “The Need to Grow” film is set for June 16 in Whitefish. The film was the winner of the Best Documentary at the Sonoma International Film Festival 2018.

Smith said the screening in Sonoma, California, and other cities has created greater awareness for what he is doing in Montana. After previous festivals he sold out of his soil products shipping out of state, though he also sells the products locally.

“More people know what I’m doing in California than know about it in Montana,” he said. “We want to bring community awareness to this.”

Thus, Smith organized a screening of the film in Whitefish.

Special guests include the directors, producers and stars of the film. A question and answer session will follow.

Complimentary food included. Cash bar sponsored by Glacier Distilling Company.

The film will be shown on Saturday, June 16 at 7 p.m. at the O’Shaughnessy Center downtown.

Tickets are $10. For tickets, visit https://algaeaqua.ticketleap.com/the-need-to-grow-whitefish/.

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