It was always the intention of the editors of Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of the Greater Yellowstone that the anthology would inspire other artists to create new work that speaks to the issue, lending another voice to the chorus opposing the Yellowstone Gateway Mines. We couldn’t be more happy to share one of those voices: Jess Portuondo, an MFA student at MSU. Jessica adapted Russell Rowland’s  thought provoking essay, The Battered Wife. Both the essay and the film it inspired will challenge you to look at the history of mining in Montana and its present day examples in a new light.


About the filmmaker

Jess Portuondo is an MFA student in MSU’s Science and Natural History Filmmaking program, as well as an advocate for the protection of public lands. After stumbling upon Unearthing Paradise at the Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, she was inspired to make the Paradise Valley mining issue the subject of her first-year film. Russell Rowland’s image of “the battered wife” resonates with her because she feels it aptly portrays the human experience of mining in Montana. Jess hopes her film adaptation of Rowland’s essay will lead to a greater understanding of the problems involved with developing more mining sites, especially in locations so close to Yellowstone National Park.


Drone Cinematography: Duncan Williamson and R. J. Sindelar
Narration: Rhiannon Martinez
Music: Brielle Morgan
Camera Assistance: Travis Truax and Alyson Sperry
Graphics: Caro Perez-Siam