Life, family, gratitude, hard work, perseverance, the love of one’s God, friends and community – that’s what the movie “Ocean of Grass” is about.

The movie depicts life on a Sandhill’s ranch in Custer County. It spans the seasons of the year.

Ocean of Grass was screened three times during the weekend at the old Fox Theater / Neville Center for the Performing Arts in downtown North Platte, attracting 1,100 people.

Filmmaker Georg Joutras says ranch life has a zen-like magic. His movie unfolds slowly and steadily. He calls it “an honest and personal look at being who you are, and treating all inhabitants of this earth with respect.”

“The people that call this place home are a unique breed: hard working, private, confident, honest, artistic and, as (rancher) Laron McGinn states, comfortable in their own skin,” Joutras says.

Joutras appeared to find what many Nebraskans find, a slowly awakening, deep appreciation for the land.

“This area is a land of limited population, even more limited job opportunities, and a harshness brought on by climate. But the Sandhills of Nebraska can also be idyllic, sublime, and on those special days in the spring and fall, truly magical,” he says.

“It is about everything important in life, all rolled up into the ranch,” including “a view back to many Americans’ historic vision of what makes this country great.”

Joutras was exposed to the ranch in a measured, timeless, and somewhat meandering manner — the same way a person gets to know any place in depth, he said.

He found people somewhat reserved.

“You get to know them slowly, similar to peeling back the layers of an onion, each layer presenting you something different,” he said.

Joutras largely made the movie himself. During long visits to the ranch, he helped with everyday activities, and switched to cinematographer to capture moments that encapsulate the narrative, he said.

An accomplished photographer and software creator, this is Joutras’ first feature-length film. He lives in Lincoln.

The movie premiered at the Kansas City FilmFest on April 15 and has been playing on request around the region ever since.

It will be shown at the Star Theater in Curtis this coming weekend, Jan. 11-14, so Lincoln County residents who missed it last weekend will have another chance. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. each night.

More screenings are set throughout Nebraska and neighboring states, including McCook on Jan. 25-27.

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