Butte America Press

Photo: Jon Dodson

Pamela Roberts: Producer/Director, President Rattlesnake Productions, Inc.

Pamela Roberts came to filmmaking as a social issue medium after graduating with honors from the University of Southern California with a masters degree in social work. She co-founded Rattlesnake Productions, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to producing educational film and media projects that provide students, teachers, and the public with a greater appreciation of Western history and culture.

Over the past 24 years Roberts has produced and directed award-winning documentary films and videos for public television and national and international theatrical and video distribution. These include  Backbone of the World: the Blackfeet, broadcast nationally on public television and WorldLINK TV; Ishi, the Last Yahi, a one-hour documentary nominated for an Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and broadcast nationally on American Experience; and Contrary Warriors: A Story of the Crow Tribe, produced by Connie Poten and Pamela Roberts with Beth Ferris, nationally broadcast on A&E and PBS and winner of the John Grierson Award for Best Film for First Time Director.

Roberts recently produced and directed the dramatic documentary film, Butte, America. The film chronicles more than 120 years of copper mining history in Butte, Montana, a world-class industrial city that flourished on the American frontier. Butte is the country’s longest-running, most lucrative hard rock mining community, known variously as the “town that plumbed and electrified America” and the “Pittsburgh of the West.” Butte, America is told through personal accounts of multigenerational and multiethnic working-class families whose lives intersected major historical events. An accompanying multimedia outreach program, About PLACE! (People, Land and Community Engagement), designed to explore Butte’s industrial aftermath, will be distributed to schools in post-industrial communities within the Clark Fork Watershed and Columbia River Basin.

gabriel_byrne Gabriel Byrne: Narrator

Gabriel Byrne is an Irish actor born in Dublin, Ireland. Byrne is a producer, director, writer and stage actor. He began his acting career at the Focus Theater, and then joined London’s Royal Court Theater in 1979.  His film debut came in John Boorman’s 1981 Arthurian epic, Excalibur.  Byrne has appeared in more than 35 films, including The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing and Into the West.  He recently won a Golden Globe for his work in the HBO series In Treatment and  appeared on the New York stage in the musical Camelot. He has also produced three films and is currently writing several scripts.

Photo: Seonaid Campbell

Photo: Seonaid Campbell

Edwin Dobb: Co-Producer/Co-Writer

Butte native Edwin Dobb is a fourth-generation descendant of Cornish tin miners and Irish copper miners. A former senior editor and acting editor-in-chief of The Sciences, Dobb has been an independent writer for nearly 20 years. He writes for a number of national publications, including Harper’s Magazine, where he has been a regular contributor since 1995. Dobb makes his home in Butte, America, but presently is a visiting lecturer at the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Eugene Corr: Co-Writer

Corr has worked in both dramatic and documentary film as a screenwriter and director, as well as a director in television. In 1991 Corr wrote and directed the documentary Waldo Salt:  A Screenwriter’s Journey with Robert Hillman, for which he and Hillman were nominated for an Academy Award. Corr also wrote and directed the 1986 film Desert Bloom starring Jon Voight, which was selected for the 1986 Cannes Film Festival. In July 2007 he commenced shooting From Ghost Town to Havana, a documentary examining the role of baseball coaches and mentors in the lives of young boys aged 9-13 living in the toughest neighborhoods of Havana, Cuba and West Oakland, California. In spring 2006 Corr taught screenwriting at Stanford University and San Quentin Prison, and founded the San Quentin Writers Group that fall. He is a member of the screenwriting staff at the Squaw Valley Writers’ Community of Writers, where he teaches most summers.


Photo: Albert Dicrutallo

Jane Greenberg: Co-Producer/Head Researcher

Jane Greenberg has been working in documentary film since earning her masters degree at Cornell University in 1996. She focuses on projects that explore personal stories as a means of stimulating discourse on current socio-political issues. In addition to freelancing for documentary filmmakers, she also produces her own films, and her work has aired nationally on public television. In 2002, she produced Fenceline: A Company Town Divided, which was showcased during the 2002 POV season. She associate produced Children of the Amazon (ITVS, 2008), Orozco Man on Fire (2006, American Masters), Discovering Dominga (2002, P.O.V.) and the Emmy-Award winning School Prayer (2000, P.O.V.). Her roles in other documentaries have included writer, editor, camera person, sound person, archival researcher, outreach coordinator and post-production supervisor. Jane lives in Oakland, California with her husband and two young children.

j-at-work-low-res Jennifer Chinlund: Editor

Jennifer Chinlund has edited many documentaries, both historical and contemporary in subject matter. A consummate filmmaker and collaborator, her innate sensibilities and talents as a storyteller, combined with her skills in solving problems and deciphering complex historical subject matter, are remarkable. Several of her films have been broadcast POV: The Self Made Man, Discovering Dominga, Baby It’s You, and Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter, which won an Emmy and was nominated for an Academy Award.  Other broadcast credits include Secrets of Silicon Valley and Beyond the Call, both on Independent Lens; Coming to Light, Edward S. Curtis and the North American Indian, on American Masters;  and Ishi,  the Last Yahi, on PBS’s American Experience.  Her films have also been shown at many international film festivals, including the Sundance, Berlin, San Francisco, and Tribeca festivals.

dp-erik-daarstad-a1336d9_lo-resErik Daarstad: Director of Photography

Erik Daarstad is a veteran filmmaker with 50 years of cinematography experience. He has a keen eye for detail and composition and helped to create a comfortable working atmosphere for the film participants. Daarstad’s numerous films and television programs include Take This Heart; Frank & Ollie; A Walk on the Moon; Beautiful Killers; Canyon Lands; The Babysitter’s Club; Have You Tried Talking to Patty?; Last Stand at Little Big Horn; West of the Imagination; Have You Ever Been Ashamed of Your Parents? (Academy Award nominee); Why Man Creates; The Spirit of America (Academy Award nominee); Meet the World; Diary of a Young Comic; Henry Moore; Glory Road; and Men Who Made the Movies

Photo: Jen Bradwell

Todd Boekelheide: Original Score

Todd Boekelheide started working in film in 1974 as a staff member at American Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola’s production company in San Francisco.  In 1976 he left to work as an assistant editor on Star Wars, and later was picture and sound editor on The Black Stallion 2.  That movie kindled an interest in film music, so he began music studies at Mills College in Oakland, California. As he began to develop his film scoring career, he also specialized as a rerecording mixer and won an Oscar in 1984 for mixing the music on Amadeus. He has scored several feature films, including Dim Sum and Nina Takes a Lover, and numerous documentaries, most notably Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse. In 1999 he won an Emmy for his score for the documentary Kids of Survival:  The Life and Art of Tim Rollins and the KOS.


*On- film scholars

*David Emmons – Western Immigration, Irish American History, Labor
Professor Emeritus, History, University of Montana
Author of The Butte Irish: Class and Ethnicity in an American Mining Town, 1875-1925

*Janet Finn – Cultural Anthropology, Ethnography
Professor, Social Work, University of Montana.
Author of Tracing the Veins: Of Copper, Culture, and Community from Butte to Chuquicamata

*Archie Green – Labor Folklore, Labor History
Lifelong member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America
Former Senior Staff Associate, AFL-CIO Labor Studies Center, and Bingham Professor of the Humanities, University of Louisville
Author of Only A Miner: Wobblies, Pile Butts and other Heroes and Calf’s Head and Union Tales

Patrick Malone – Industrial Archaeology, Urban Studies, American History
Associate Professor, Urban Studies and American Civilization, Brown University
Co-author of The Texture of Industry: An Archaeological View of the Industrialization of North America

Mary Murphy – Western Women, Oral History, Mining Culture
Michael P. Malone Professor in History, Montana State University.
Author of Mining Cultures: Men, Women, and Leisure in Butte, 1914-1941 and Hope in Hard Times: New Deal Photographs of Montana, 1936-1942

L. Fredric Quivik – Environmental History, History of Technology
Independent scholar
Author of “The Historic Industrial Landscape of Butte and Anaconda” in Images Of An American Land: Vernacular Architecture Studies in the Western United States

Richard White – Environmental History, Western History
Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Stanford University
Author of The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River and It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own: A New History of the American West


Brian L. Shovers – Montana and Butte History
Library Manager, Montana Historical Society Research Center, Helena, Montana

Ellen Crain – Archival Research and Preservation
Director, Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives