In a nutshell

I love making movies, TV shows, videos, podcasts, or any other content dealing with story. I’m comfortable taking the lead on a project or collaborating to bring someone else’s vision to life. I’ve got over 20 years of industry experience and can confidently wear a variety of hats on a film set.

Origin story anecdote

Since I was a wee child I knew I wanted to dedicated myself to something unique. First, it was basketball. I practiced shooting 3-4 hours a day and became the 5’11” Larry Bird of Montana. Shortly after, I discovered filmmaking. It was a dog fight, but eventually filmmaking won out when I realized that my status as the 5’11” Larry Bird of Montana wouldn’t be enough to ascend to the professional level. Making a living as a basketball legend was out. I was 16. Like a freakishly thirsty sponge, I gobbled up as much filmmaking material as I could find. I was off. I found my life’s passion & purpose and have never looked back. 

Here’s my proper third person bio (pretend I didn’t write it)

John D. Nilles is a writer/director/producer & film educator based in Montana. His great-great-great grandparents homesteaded in the Bitterroot Valley. His family has called Montana home ever since. Growing up, John was enthralled by tales passed down through generations of storytellers.

John discovered his passion for filmmaking at an early age and cut his teeth on an ambitious Indiana Jones fan film in high school. He then had brief stints at Montana State University and in Los Angeles before returning home to Western Montana. Since then, John has directed & produced countless short films, commercials, corporate videos, documentaries, and music videos, but his primary focus is on feature films. He has written over 10 screenplays and has many others in various stages of development. He is particularly fond of Westerns and Science Fiction. Especially, when they intersect. 

John currently resides in Missoula, MT where he owns With A Cause Productions,, & Treasure State Studios. His latest feature, Saving For The Day, is slated for release in 2023.


    After a 13 year odyssey, “
    SAVING FOR THE DAY” had it’s world premiere on March 11th, 2023. The film is a love letter to Missoula and features the talent of over 400 Montanans. It’s a multi-genre feature in the form of a modern-day Indiana Jones adventure. There will be more theatrical screenings followed by an online release later this year.
    I’ve got several short films in post that will be completed this year. Two contemporary Westerns called, “BITTERROOT,” and “BLEACH BONE.” Plus a Rock Mockumentary titled, “THE DRUMMER MONK.” 
    I’m serving as Cinematographer & Editor on a documentary about the 1918 Flu Pandemic in Montana. We’re in post and hope the film will air on PBS and beyond.
    A sound stage, industry standard G&E equipment, post production facilities, & recording studio nestled in beautiful Missoula, Montana. Check us out! 


  • DadMode is in full effect. Our family is growing and we couldn’t be happier about it. We’re thoroughly enjoying splitting time between Missoula (pictured above) and Florida (picture below). 
  • We’re making plans to finally renovate our 32′ RV. Hope to get started next Spring!

Updated in September of 2023.

This section is inspired by Derek Sivers and his Now Page Movement.

Visit my IMDb profile for more info.