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SD director’s movie 'Dust of War' part of annual film festival in Aberdeen

Characters Jeb and Wyatt are shown in the film "Dust of War," shot in South Dakota in 2011. ("Dust of War" production still)

ABERDEEN (AP) — A movie written and directed by a Pierre man is a featured film at this weekend’s South Dakota Film Festival at the Capitol Theatre in Aberdeen.

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“Dust of War” features many South Dakotans. It is a story about a post-apocalyptic American frontier where a lone soldier fends off a brutal warmonger to rescue a girl fated as the savior of humanity.

Director Andrew Kightlinger, who studied filmmaking at Boston University, tells the Aberdeen American News he’s happy South Dakota residents will be able to see the movie.

“This moment is very cathartic for us,” he said.

Kightlinger said he stuck to the traditional movie archetypes, including a hero, a sidekick, a villain and a heroine. But there’s also a twist, he said.

“Even the villain is likable in this movie,” he told the newspaper.

The movie changed a lot in the editing process, Kightlinger said. The plot was restructured. The timeline was altered. Some character’s roles were made bigger, others smaller. And the ending was altered drastically.

During editing, which was done with Shawn O’Connell at Labyrinth Films in Aberdeen, the movie was cut from 115 minutes to 88 minutes, Kightlinger said.

“At one point, we were up so long that (O’Connell) started speaking in tongues and going crazy,” Kightlinger said with a smile.

The movie was filmed in the Pierre area during the Missouri River flood in 2011. It was one of 274 submissions for the seventh annual event.