Haley Lu Richardson and Owen Teague play siblings dealing with the sudden illness of their father in “Montana Story,” in an intimate indie from filmmakers Scott McGehee and David Siegel.

Just ahead of the movie’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival — where five of McGehee and Siegel’s past films have made their debut — the group sat down to the discuss the project in Variety’s TIFF Studio, presented by Canada Goose.

In many ways, “Montana Story” was born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The directing duo had been working on another project, which due to the pressures and safety parameters of the era simply wouldn’t be possible to film right now.

“We started thinking about a new script and new story and something that we might be able to make in a place that’s more isolated,” Siegel said. “I think a lot of the pressures of the time started informing ideas about the story, about redemption, about consequence, about interpersonal responsibility.”

Plus, Siegel added, he and McGehee are West Coasters, born and raised in California, “but, we had never been to Montana. So we did a lot of imagining about [it], and I think the imagination of Montana helped give birth the story as well.”

Richardson had been in conversation with the filmmakers about another movie when they approached her about playing Erin in “Montana Story.”

“I was just craving so badly, at that point, just to have a real artistic experience on a movie,” Richardson said of signing on to play a young woman returning home to face the family — and the trauma — she left behind. “I connected to her; I understood her because she was so whole. I wanted to say every word and nothing else that they wrote.”

Teague plays Cal, Erin’s younger brother, sharing that he was drawn into the project by the complicated family dynamics that reveal themselves over the course of the movie.

“It’s a beautifully written movie, and it’s also about this brother-sister relationship, and this father-son and father-daughter relationship, in terms of the history of the characters,” he explained. “And the way that the film dealt with that, I thought was really beautiful.”

McGehee explained how the state of Montana itself plays an important role in the story. “Being there [in Montana] really puts pressure on the actors in terms of what it means and what it feels like to be in that place,” the filmmaker said. “And I think it puts pressure on us to capture that place in a particular kind of way that feels authentic. You feel the lives lived there in a very concrete way.”

And yet another pivotal player is a horse called Mr. T whose real name is Crackers and, according to the group, and was a bit of a diva on set. You see, Crackers was trained as an action horse and “Montana Story” is an intimate emotional piece.

Watch the video above to hear how the group managed the equine actor.