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Documentary giving a visual journey of ranch life in Sandhills to be featured at Midwest Theater

September 20, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — “Ocean of Grass: Life on a Nebraska Sandhills Ranch” is a visual journey of the ranch lifestyle at a 130 year old Nebraska Sandhills ranch, with the backdrop of the Nebraska Sandhills.

The Midwest Theater will have three showings of the film “Ocean of Grass: Life on a Nebraska Sandhills Ranch” this weekend. Director Georg Joutras will also be in town for Friday night’s showing and will hold a Q/A session afterward at the theater.

“At a basic level, it can be simply stated as a year in the life of a ranch,” wrote Joutras. “But thematically, I am not necessarily telling a story. I am telling a feeling.”

The film unfolds the measured, timeless, and meandering way on a ranch in the Sandhills while showcasing the landscape of individuals with unique personalities. It shows the quirks of life on the ranch and offers the viewer a feeling of connection for the people and place.

“Ocean of Grass is an organic journey about everything important in life all rolled up into the ranch,” said Joutras. “In the end, it is an honest and personal look at being who you are.”

While Joutras grew up in Ogallala, he moved in the early 2000s and opened a photography gallery in the Burkholder Building in Lincoln’s Haymarket District. While he was there, people told him he had to meet Laron McGinn, who was an associated artist with the gallery. One day, Joutras went to lunch with a group of artists, including McGinn. The two connected with their similar outlook on life and humor and McGinn offered his home if Joutras ever needed a place to stay. At the time, Joutras was working on a book project “Along the Edge of Daylight,” that required him to travel across the state. He called McGinn and planned to stay for an evening at his ranch.

“A week later, I was able to finally drag myself away from this magical, intriguing, and inviting family ranch,” he said. “I’ve been going back to the ranch ever since.

The film setting is at McGinn Ranch, which is located between Arnold and Dunning.

Midwest Theater Executive Director Billy Estes said he is excited to bring the film to Scottsbluff and encourages the public to come to the showings.

“I grew up in Custer County and it’s going to be strangely wonderful to see home on the big screen for me,” he said. “The film is really relateable and tells a great story about Nebraska.”

While everyone has some familiarity with the ranch lifestyle, Joutras hopes to awaken the audience’s senses of the landscape’s beauty with narrative by the ranchers. He said the film drives home the lifestyle that makes America great and the people who have called the land home for generations.

Nebraska composer Tom Larson wrote the musical score for the film. Larson is an assistant professor of composition at the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is well-known for his work on number PBS documentaries.

As the film graces the big screen across the state, it has had 10 sold out screenings to date at only 4 venues.

The Midwest Theater will have three showtimes for Ocean of Grass this weekend, Sept. 21-23. The film will play at 7:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday and at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $4 for members and children 12 and under and $6 for non-members.

For more information about showtimes visit midwesttheater.com.

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