Local prep athletes and fans all know that when they hear the name Big Sandy, it represents the epitome of Six-Man football.
On a map of the United States, Big Sandy is just speck. If you blink, you might miss it, and if you aren’t traveling on Highway 87 in North Central Montana you might never see it at all. With a population of roughly 750 people, Big Sandy is as small town, as small town USA gets, possibly the reason it is the perfect focus of an upcoming documentary on small town, and Six-Man football.
Kurt Markus was born and raised in Montana, and is known all over the nation for his photography, whether it be for his portraits, landscapes, travel, or fashion images. He has shot countless celebrities, as well as done work for nearly every major publication, including Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and Men’s and Women’s Health to name a few. Markus has also done a broad variety of advertising with top names like Armani and Nike (the list goes on).
But as he continues to test the waters of film and documentary, Markus will now look to put his signature style on Six-Man football, focusing on Big Sandy and Geraldine as they grind it out during the 2012 season.
“I think Big Sandy is lucky in a sense,” Big Sandy head football coach Gregg King said. “To be picked for this. (Markus) did go to some area football games last year, and he went to state championship and some playoff games. I don’t know who he talked to, but he asked around and talked to different people and our name got thrown out there. I told the boys that it is an honor just to be able to do this, and it is a neat opportunity to have him follow us around.”
Markus has done a handful of music videos, but his biggest film work came in the form of a documentary on a John Mellencamp tour. The film, It’s About You was Markus’s first film adventure, and now he will attempt to tackle 6-Man football in Montana.
The Pioneer football team has been in the spotlight since the first day of two-a-days this summer. Markus has shot countless hours of practice footage, as well as their first game already this season. He has done the same for Geraldine. Markus has also made plans to be able to attend every one of Big Sandy’s football games.
But the Pioneers know that this film project isn’t an excuse to relax. They don’t want to lose sight of their goals, and a state championship is a realistic goal this season, especially after finishing 10-2 a year ago, and being bumped from the semifinals two straight years.
“We talked about it before (the shooting) started,” King said. “Making sure we know that we still have to take care of business. He (Markus) comes in second, and we have to do what we have to do to be successful. It sounds bad, but he does come in second because football comes first. But we don’t even notice them shooting anymore. We will see him there, and sometimes we will visit a little bit, but we don’t really notice the camera anymore. I don’t know how many hours he has shot, but he has shot a lot already. We are used to him being there.”
The film’s main focus is football. But the film will also touch on the subject of Big Sandy as a town, and the history of football in the town. Six-Man football has been a major contributor to the history of Big Sandy, and while the current players will be interviewed for the film, Markus is also looking for past players to add to the films content.
“I really think the kids were excited (for this opportunity),” King said. “Everybody was looking forward to the opportunity, and the players think it is cool that he (Markus) is even here.”
The film won’t be finished until next spring or winter at the earliest, but fans can help get a packed house in the film tonight in Big Sandy, as the Pioneers take on the Box Elder Bears at 7 p.m. in Big Sandy.