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John Lamb, Published January 29 2011

Lamb: A Sundance experience

The Sundance Film Festival is wrapping up, but Garth Blomberg was happy to be home by Wednesday afternoon.

Blomberg, formerly of Fargo, now lives in Minneapolis. But his roots in Minot, N.D., got him to Park City, Utah, home of America’s most-buzzed-about film festival.

(No offense, Fargo Film Festival.)

Blomberg is one of three actors in the low-budget film “Prairie Love,” which made its world premiere last Sunday at the festival.

A graphic designer by trade, Blomberg agreed to act in the film as a favor to friends from Minot. The movie was shot outside of Minot in January 2009 by writer/director Dusty Bias. “Prairie Love” also features actor Jeremy Clark and actress/co-writer/producer Holly Lynn Ellis.

The film follows the adventure of a drifter (Clark) who stumbles across a local (Blomberg) with a pen-pal girlfriend (Ellis) and sees an opportunity to change his life.

“It was pretty surreal,” the 31-year-old Blomberg says of the Sundance experience. “It was quite literally the 15 minutes of fame, being shuffled around between interviews and photo shoots.”

Previously, photo shoots and interviews centered around his rock groups Battle at Sea and When Something Fails.

But “Prairie Love” garnered a fair amount of buzz at the festival, including praise from actor James Franco, who sat in the front row for Sunday’s world premiere. Two days later, Franco was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “127 Hours.”

“That was really weird,” Blomberg says.

Still, he says he never got hung up on star-spotting.

“I have a knack for not knowing what people look like,” Blomberg says from his Minneapolis apartment Wednesday afternoon, 20 minutes after getting home.

While Franco was fine, his biggest brush with greatness was hanging out with 1970s rockers.

“I fist-bumped a couple of the original Doobie Brothers, so that was pretty cool,” says Blomberg.

While “Prairie Love” hasn’t been picked up for distribution as of this writing, the cast and crew seem happy with its reception.

“When they should laugh, they laughed,” Blomberg says of audiences.

He added that people seemed interested in North Dakota and the winter weather. They also liked the “Prairie Love” can cozies and hand-warmers. (Sundance is littered with swag.)

Surprisingly, for a movie shot in rural North Dakota in winter, Blomberg heard no references to “Fargo.”

“That’s good because I think that means it’s standing on its own,” he says.

While no local showing for the movie is set yet, Blomberg encourages people to check out the film clip on YouTube and leave a comment.

“It was a humbling experience because I’m not actively in the film industry. It was kind of a help-a-buddy-out type of thing, and this is what happened out of it,” Blomberg says. “It’s something people in the film industry strive for, and a lot of them never get a chance to experience what I experienced.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533

Read his blog on arts, entertainment and pop culture at areavoices.com