Bella Vista

A feature film about strangers in Missoula, Montana.
Vera Brunner-Sung
Email Verified
Missoula, Montana
United States
7 Team Members

NEW PERK! We're so thrilled to be collaborating with Oula Fitness, for a climactic scene in Bella Vista. For a $75 contribution, receive a 12-class pass good at Oula Fitness's gorgeous new studio in Missoula! (A $120 value!!) More about Oula:



Update! Our beautiful poster design by Victor Hu:

Bella Vista Poster

A signed, limited edition copy is yours with a contribution at the Study Abroad level!



We’re making a feature film! It’s about a community of outsiders led by an itinerant language instructor whose search for meaning and identity leads to a remote city in the Rocky Mountain West.

Written and directed by Vera Brunner-Sung, Bella Vista focuses on Doris, a woman at a crossroads in her life. Just arrived back in the U.S. from years of teaching abroad, Doris is readapting to America in Missoula, Montana, a small city in the Rocky Mountains. The people she feels most comfortable around are her students at the University, who come from all over the world and are going through their own cultural adjustments as well. Doris is at a point where she’s beginning to doubt her path — and starting to wonder if she’s missing out on important things like a serious relationship and a stable home.

The story is set in the present day, but it’s also about the past. As Doris explores, she discovers clues to a recent history of displacement: people who moved or were removed, for political, economic and social reasons. Doris takes her students to Fort Missoula, where they discover the imprisonment of Italians and Japanese that took place during World War II. As winter begins to thaw, Doris and her students must consider the sacrifices and opportunities of adaptation, and what it means to belong somewhere new.



Bella Vista is inspired by Vera's personal experience of moving to Missoula from Los Angeles in 2011, knowing next to nothing about Montana. As she met new people and explored the city and its history, the story of Bella Vista — her first feature — evolved. She knew she had to make this film. Its themes have interested her since she began making experimental films nine years ago: how do we define home? How does the past manifest in the present? And how does landscape speak to us on a psychic level, affecting our perceptions of the world and ourselves? For Vera, as a first generation American, the concepts of identity and laying down roots are highly personal. But then, most of us have been outsiders at one time or another, uncertain of how, or whether, to connect in a new environment. Bella Vista is about lives on the margins of history and the economy, but also how central these are to the idea of the American West, where anyone can reimagine their future.



A deeply realist film, Bella Vista is being shot entirely on location. The students in our film are playing themselves — actual international students studying at the University of Montana. Using long takes and a documentary approach, we're emphasizing the city of Missoula and the surrounding landscape: the stunning mountains, valleys, and forests, the Clark Fork River that runs through downtown, local neighborhoods and businesses.


WHY $30,000?

It’s a lot, so where is it going? This is a critical moment for us. We’re raising this money to complete principal photography for Bella Vista. It takes a lot of time and a lot of dedicated people, equipment, planning, and money to make a film like this. We need your support to pay and feed our cast and crew, as well as cover location, equipment, travel, and insurance costs. Until now, we’ve managed to raise $18,000 in grants and private funding. Much of this funding has already covered our winter shoot. With your contribution, we can complete our spring shoot and get started editing the film! We’ll spend the summer working on post-production, and begin submitting it to festivals late this year.



Yes! Our story takes place over winter into spring, so we’re shooting in two phases. We raised enough money through grants and private individuals to fund our first round at the start of February. Check out the clips in our video above!



Absolutely! Every penny you contribute (minus Indiegogo’s fee) goes directly toward making our film happen, and any money we raise over our goal will make our film even BETTER. You’re supporting any additional days of shooting we might need, as well as crucial time in post production for us to edit and finish Bella Vista, and bring it to a screen near you!



CALAMITY! It's now or never. We can't delay our shoot, because we’ll lose our cast. Our student actors are actual international students, and most are returning to their home countries.

Help us meet — heck, SURPASS — our goal, and we’ll be golden!



No — only you and the project creator will be able to see the amount.



No problem, you can opt out. Thank you for your generosity!



Yes, you can contribute from anywhere in the world!



Yes! We would love that! Just visit our Indiegogo page and sign in. You can change the perk or donation amount when you view your donation.



Please visit our website,, to find more information about the story, our vision, and our amazing cast and crew. Follow us on Twitter @BellaVistaMT and like us on Facebook -- you'll receive all the latest updates including behind-the-scenes photos, and more.



Even if you are unable to contribute financially, you can still help! Donations, sponsorships, ideas, and any support you may have to offer — please get in touch and let us know. And most of all, please help spread the word about our campaign!



We’d love to hear from you. You can contact us directly at

 Winter Shoot

THANK YOU IN ADVANCE for being a part of Bella Vista. We are so grateful for the enthusiasm and support we have been receiving in the Missoula community, as well as from friends, family, colleagues and advocates everywhere. We couldn’t do this without you.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 269 people in 28 days
103% funded
No time left
$30,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on March 27, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    Thank you!

    Every dollar counts and we are so grateful for your support. We'll be thanking you with a shout out on our website, Twitter and Facebook page!

    7 claimed
  • $15USD
    Dispatch from Bella Vista

    We'll send you a custom designed postcard from Missoula, signed by cast and crew! We'll also be thanking you on our website, Twitter and Facebook page!

    27 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $25USD
    Wanderer's Delight

    Bring us with you wherever you go! All of the above, plus we'll send you a download of our poster and the full-length movie once it's been released.

    96 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $50USD
    Home Sweet Home

    Relax and unwind: we'll send you all of the above, plus an elegantly packaged, signed DVD of the film once it's been released!

    40 claimed
    Estimated delivery: May 2015
  • $75USD
    NEW! Let's Dance

    Get on your feet and join the movement! We'll send you all of the above plus a 12-class pass good at Oula Fitness's gorgeous new studio in Missoula! (A $120 value!!) Enact a scene straight from BELLA VISTA and find yourself letting loose, bonding with the sparkling community at this spirited dance studio just like our exchange student, Yuri. More about Oula:

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $100USD
    New Neighbors

    You're moving in! Your name is in the credits. We're sending you all of the above, and, since your contribution has paid for a camera set up in our film, we'll also send you a one-of-a-kind 8"x10" still image from YOUR set up!

    40 out of 150 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $250USD
    Study Abroad

    Be transported by our beautiful limited edition 18"x24" printed poster designed for us by Victor Hu, personalized and signed by cast and crew! And to really get in the mood, pour yourself a warm cup of Evening in Missoula, a delicious herbal tea blend we’ll be sending you from Missoula’s own Montana Tea & Spice Trading!

    7 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2013
  • $500USD
    Native Speaker

    A truly unique experience: let one of our cast treat you to a half hour language lesson by video conference in Japanese, Arabic, Amharic, Salish, Russian, Spanish or French! Plus all of the above!

    1 out of 20 claimed
    Estimated delivery: June 2013
  • $1,000USD
    Pattee Canyon Trailblazer

    You've really set us on our path! You're an Associate Producer, and it will say so in our credits. You receive all of the above, AND you’re invited to a private dinner with the director, as well as a private preview screening in Los Angeles or Missoula. (Travel not included.) We're sending you a Missoula-made, hand crafted Goertzen leather Field Guide bag, customized with a BELLA VISTA nameplate! Also yours: a signed script and gorgeous book documenting our production in pictures and words.

    0 out of 15 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
  • $5,000USD
    Mount Sentinel Summit

    You've reached the peak! You're now a co-producer, which means you must love this project as much as we do! You receive all of the above, but instead of the Goertzen Field Guide bag, we’ll send your choice of their Messenger bag or Ruck Sack, with your own hand-stamped name plate! You'll see the first cut of the film before anyone else, come behind the scenes to observe post-production in Montana or Los Angeles, and receive two tickets to our world festival premiere! (Travel not included.)

    1 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: January 2014
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