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Kightlinger bringing his film to Mobridge

Area residents will have a chance to view a film written and directed by a South Dakota native whose family roots are in Selby.
Mobridge will be one of the nine towns in the state that will host a screening of “Tater Tot & Patton,” a film written and directed by Andrew Kightlinger. This is part of a statewide theatrical release screening of the movie in nine towns across the state and will be shown in Mobridge on Tuesday, March 12.
Kightlinger is a Pierre native with family roots in Selby. His grandmother Lorraine Kightlinger lives in Selby, and his father, Lon Kightlinger, is the former State Epidemiologist for South Dakota.
His dad spent 20 years in Madagascar working to combat diseases like malaria and that is where Andrew was born. In 1998, when he was 11-years-old, the family moved back to South Dakota and settled in Pierre.
Kightlinger graduated from T.F. Riggs High School in 2004, then attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls for his undergraduate, before getting a master of fine arts in film from Boston University.
“It has been a dream of mine, since I was a kid, to make movies,” he said. “I always had the support of parents, my family, including my grandma.”
Since school Kightlinger has been involved in film making, including several award winning short-films and two full-length features. His most noted full-length feature is “Dust of War” also shot in South Dakota. Kightlinger, who now lives Los Angeles, said he still considers South Dakota home and serves on South Dakota Arts Council Board.
His latest work filmed on a ranch north of Ft. Pierre, is a drama/comedy, character-driven story of Andie, a wayward millennial who escapes the city to South Dakota where her alcoholic uncle Erwin has a ranch.
The movie is rated R for language, alcohol/drug abuse and brief nudity. The fim has done very well at recent film festivals including winning Best Screenplay Vail Film Festival, Winner Best Film South Dakota Film Festival, Winner Best Film Beloit International Film Festival and an Official Selection Napa Valley Film Festival.
Kightlinger explained Andie, played by Jessica Rothe (Happy Death Day, Forever My Girl, La La Land) comes to the state to “get her life together.” He said the two characters go through loss and grief and ultimately hope to “lift each other out of their personal ashes.”
“The movie is sort of a love letter to the state,” he said. “It was filmed from both an insider and outsider point of view with me being from here but also seeing it as one who has lived outside of the state.”
Kightlinger said the people of South Dakota are “truly unique and kind” and are more enlightened than people, especially from the coasts, realize.
“The people are more real here,” he said.
The movie was shot on the ranch of a classmate, the young lady that was Kightlinger’s date to his high school prom. It is the same area in which “Dances With Wolves” was filmed. The grans expanse of the prairie and South Dakota skies play a major role in the film.
Kightlinger said the same buffalo herd will been seen in his film.
“It was fun to bring it back to South Dakota for theater screening,” said Kightlinger. “It is the only place in the country where that is happening.”
The film will be played at the Mac Theatre in Mobridge for one night, Tuesday, March 12, at 7 p.m. There will be a question and answer period after the film with Kightlinger after the movie.
He said it will be relaxed atmosphere in which he will be candid with his answers, but also will inject a bit of his humor into this part of the event.
Kightlinger said he hopes the weather will be nice in order for his family and friends from across the area can make to Mobridge for the event.
The screenings start in Pierre on Friday, March 8, and will also be held in Mitchell on Sunday, March 10, in Spearfish on Monday, March 11, in Huron on Wednesday, March 13, in Brookings on March 14, in Aberdeen on Friday, March 15 and Watertown on Saturday, March 16.
– Katie Zerr –