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Valley Journal

POLSON – The Americana duo Jim and Sam found a novel way to up their music careers: play a show a day for a year.

In addition to helping the duo hone their skills and find new ways to get in sync, the project evolved into the documentary film, “After So Many Days,” currently touring the country. The film and the duo, which features husband and wife duo, Jim Hanft and Samantha Yonack, will be featured at the Flathead Lake International Cinemafest on Jan. 24-26.

Jim and Sam will perform a concert on Thursday, Jan. 23, at the Ronan Performing Arts Center, and on Jan. 24 at 6 p.m., the film will be shown at the Polson Showboat Cinema on Main Street.

For Jim and Sam, this will be their first trip to Montana. Their film tour took them all over the U.S. and to 14 foreign countries. They played sold-out shows and they played in a variety of venues from a liquor store to the lauded SXSW music festival.

“After So Many Days’’ features an intimate look behind the scenes of their tour and gives audiences a front row seat to Jim and Sam’s eclectic shows. As Jim said in the film “Here we go – making something happen every single day.”

The couple married just months before the tour launched even though they had been performing together for a decade after meeting at a friend’s comedy show in Los Angeles. Sam said they got into the rhythm of the tour, helping them overcome the inevitable exhaustion that hit them as they performed 365 one-night stands.

“Playing a show every day takes your ego out of it,” Sam said in a telephone interview. “You learn to roll with the punches. You get creative when punches are thrown at you.”

Sam said she wouldn’t do another tour that focused on performing a show every day, but she and Jim agreed that the experience was career building and life changing.

“This tour pulled us out of a really deep rut we were in,” Jim said. “While we were on tour, we met people who were in similar ruts. People began telling us how much we inspired them. They were saying things like, ‘I’m going to make a picture every day.’”

Jim and Sam self-released their debut EP in 2015, “This is What’s Left.” Earlier this year, they released their second EP, “Yeah Whatever Young Forever.”

Their documentary film is gaining positive reviews across the country, and even though it was a risk to make, Jim said he and Sam learned so much through the process of making it.

“You never know when you make anything in life, how it’s going to turn out. When it came to making the film side of it, when we began to reflect, we brought in two friends from the film world. All of us together tried to take this thing that was so magical in our life, bottle it up and take it on the road.”

Sam adds, “Something we didn’t see coming is how people have responded emotionally to the film.”

The film expresses how a young duo can connect with audiences and share their passion for music with the world.

About thirty filmmakers from around the globe are planning to visit the Mission Valley to participate in FLIC. The festival, now in its eighth year, kicks off Friday, Jan. 24, with an informal gathering from 4 to 5:45 p.m. at the Perfect Shot Tavern, 218 Main St., in Polson. Film showings begin at 6 p.m. on Jan. 24 on both screens at the Showboat.