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Films by Jiakai Lou


Jiakai Lou, known as JK, is a documentary filmmaker based in Missoula, Montana. He is also an award-winning visual journalist.

JK was born and raised in Zhejiang, China. He decided to explore the American West after high school and started his journey at the University of Montana. He graduated in 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

JK has spent the last few years observing American culture first-hand from behind camera lenses. He believes he is part of the next wave of young filmmakers who long to create compelling cinematic stories and meaningful work surrounding conservation, art, and outdoor culture.

32 Below

32 Below takes an intimate look into the hard work, dedication and passion of one ranching family as they tend to their herd in Helmville, Montana. The Bignells persevere through the sleepless days and nights of calving season while enduring the frigid temperatures of one of Montana’s most intense winters on record.

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2020 Snow Film

An environmental impact film featuring excellent and beautiful footage of Snowbowl, snow scenery, and the Missoula valley and mountains, coupled with insight into the “skiing lifestyle” of Missoula families. The focus is also on climate change and what that might mean for Montana, as well as tips for how to be better stewards. It features Elizabeth Fricke of UM Outdoor Programs (Campus Rec) and her family, as well as UM climate scientists. 

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Meat for the Mind: Bison and the Spiritual Revitalization of the Sioux and the Assiniboine.  Story by Paul Hamby and Photo and Video by Jiakai Lou

The beautiful video and accompanying story from Native News together trace the story of the bison’s historical disappearance and modern-day revitalization, and explores the cultural significance to the tribes of the bison’s return to their native lands. Paul Hamby writes, “the Fort Peck tribes have been among a number of tribes across the country reintroducing the bison to their traditional grazing lands.   The effort is showing physical benefits to the land. It is also proving how essential the animal is as both a food source, but also as a wellspring that nourishes intangible notions like cultural connection and tribal identity.” The video captures the majestic animals and the beautiful landscape that they grace, complemented by commentary from key tribal leaders about connection that the members of the tribe have with the buffalo.

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Grizzlies in the Wild

Movement: University of Montana Professor Brent Ruby studies movement and the boundaries of what the human body is capable of in his lab, the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism. He's driven by a passion for pushing himself, but also by a passion for balancing his teaching and research with the outdoor opportunities that abound in western Montana. Watch here

Grit: Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Like the University of Montana Rodeo team members – who continue to saddle up for one another, their horses and Griz Nation. Watch here

Solution: At the University of Montana, there's a dedicated group of scientists doing vaccine research to address deadly diseases the world is facing, including COVID-19. Their work has landed UM in the company of other prestigious universities working to solve the coronavirus pandemic. Watch here

Growth: Thriving gardens inside the University Center at the University of Montana provide more than an unexpected jungle oasis in western Montana. The building includes three stories worth of lush plants, offering lessons to those who take the time to pause and listen. Watch here

Grizzlies on Ice: After the pandemic stalled their international Disney On Ice tour, two professional skaters decided to enroll at University of Montana. Now they are making their own magic on UM's new ice rink. Watch here

Lead: Nonso Maxwell Obieyisi is the kind of person who is changing the world one conversation at a time. By building community as president of University of Montana's Black Student Union, sharing his Nigerian culture and walking proudly as a Griz, Nonso shows us what leadership really is. Watch here


Other Films:

We Are One

We Are One - We Are All Related. Montana American Indian perspectives celebrating diversity, culture, history and sovereignty. Provided by: MT OPI Indian Education Division

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Introducing The First Nations of Montana to the World

65,000 Native People of Montana welcome you and introduce themselves and give perspective into some things of great importance to them. Provided by: MT OPI Indian Education Division, from Montana Office of Tourism.

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