Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival? The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF) has become the largest cinema event in Montana and the premiere venue for non-fiction film in the American West. The festival draws an audience of 20,000 and receives over 1400 film entries from every corner of the globe. BSDFF takes place in Missoula, Montana and offers a unique setting for filmmakers to premiere new work and for audiences to see innovative new films. BSDFF hosts over 100 visiting artists, and screens an average of 140 nonfiction films annually.

Where do BSDFF screenings take place? Screenings are held at the historic Wilma Theater, The Top Hat, The Roxy Theater, and Crystal Theater in downtown Missoula. This year we are also adding a few intimate screenings at Shakespeare & Company.

When does THE NEXT BSDFF take place? Feb 17-26, 2017

When can I purchase tickets? You can buy All-Access and All-Screening passes anytime on our website.  

Single movie tickets will be available to purchase online in early February. Tickets are available for purchase online until midnight the night before the screening, then at the door the day of the screening. For all Crystal, Roxy & Shakespeare & Co screenings, passholders should pick up tickets for films they wish to screen every morning of the festival, at The Wilma, or arrive 15 minutes prior to the film screening.  To purchase tickets go to

How do I claim tickets purchased online? Tickets purchases online can be picked up at WILL CALL  at the Wilma during the festival.

I can’t make it to a film screening. Can I get a refund on my ticket? Email us prior to the film at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we may be able to issue a refund. After the event, we can not issue a refund.

Is there assigned seating for the film screenings? No, all screenings are general admission.

Is there a director in person for a Q&A after every screening? Many of our filmmakers come to Missoula to participate in their screenings, but not all.

Are the films family friendly? Many of the films have mature content. For family friendly films, please check out our Schoolhouse Docs after-school series, screening every day at 4:00 at the Roxy Theater. Age ratings for Schoolhouse Docs films can be found in the festival program. Though most of these new films have not been rated officially, we gather a group of educators prior to the festival each year to assign age-appropriateness for each film.

Are there other events at BSDFF besides movie screenings? Yes! BSDFF hosts DocShop, an annual 5-day conference on the art and skill of filmmaking featuring workshops, panels, and the Big Sky Pitch. On Friday, February 26th we will have our AWARDS PARTY open to the public at The Loft in downtown Missoula. Additionally,  every night of BSDFF there is an event at a different Missoula business with food, drinks, and networking opportunities available to All-Access passholders.

What is DocShop? Each year, BSDFF holds DocShop, a 5-day conference for filmmakers and professionals, to discuss the art and impact of filmmaking. For all media makers and enthusiasts, DocShop tackles the filmmaking process through panels, workshops, pitches, screenings and presentations – invaluable continuing education for the veteran and emerging filmmaker. Visit the “DocShop” page of our website for more information and to register!

What is the Big Sky Pitch? 12-15 documentary filmmakers pitch their work-in-progress to some of the top commissioning editors and funders for documentary film in North America. All documentary forms and all subjects are eligible to submit. The session will be held Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 at the UC Theater in Missoula, Montana with a live audience of filmmakers, industry representatives, and students. Commissioning editors will have the opportunity to critique and comment on each pitch. Selected projects will have 8 minutes to pitch their project and show a sample, if available, for the panel.

How can I get an All-Access Pass? All-Access passes can be purchased online. If you are already a FULL MEMBER (Associate Producer or above) click HERE for your discounted ALL SCREENING PASS (email must match email of member); HERE for your discounted ALL ACCESS PASS

What does my All-Access pass get me? All-Access passes get you into all films, DocShop panels, parties and special events during the BSDFF.

What does a BSFI Membership get me? By being a BSFI Member, you are supporting our nonprofit that not only puts on the festival, but our other programs including DocShop, Filmmaker In The Schools, the year-long Youth Fellowship Program, Mentor Filmmaking Workshop, our two-week Filmmaking  Summer Intensie (with Rocky Mountain School of Photography) and our monthly Big Sky Film Series. You receive a five-punch pass ($40 value) for the festival, plus your membership is incentivized with monthly perks, swag & discounts at local businesses that support us and you

How can I become a member? To become a member, click on the "become a member" button on our home page.

What is the Big Sky Film Series? The Big Sky Film Series is a MONTHLY screening series highlighting traditional and innovative non-fiction film and video. Screenings are held each month at the Top Hat Lounge in downtown Missoula and are free and open to the public. Check our website for upcoming Film Series films and dates.

What sponsorship opportunities are available at BSDFF? The festival’s annual attendance of over 20,000—a broad demographic that includes filmmakers and industry professionals from around the world as well as highly engaged attendees from Missoula and beyond—makes BSDFF sponsorship a unique opportunity to communicate brand and breadth of services to a clearly defined and influential audience. Each year, we work with our corporate, public and individual donor partners to ensure that our high-impact sponsorship packages are customized and crafted to meet and advance their objectives—be they shared artistic vision, political advocacy, or business-specific objectives. For a general overview of BSDFF sponsorship opportunities and audience profile, please download our (pdf).To inquire about specific sponsorships or customize your own, please contact Sarah Nasby at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

How can I submit my film to BSDFF? The window of the call for entries for the 2017 BSDFF will be announced in May 2016. Please check “submissions” page of our website this spring.

How can I volunteer for BSDFF? Please complete the form found on the “Volunteer” page of our website to indicate your availability and areas of interest for volunteering during the festival. We hope to email schedules to each volunteer by mid-January. Please keep up-to-date by joining the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival -Volunteer Facebook Page.  As always, volunteers will receive a complimentary t-shirt for working two shifts as well as a free screening pass for each shift worked (to be distributed during your shift unless other arrangements are required). Volunteers who work 40 hours over the course of the festival will receive all-access passes good for screenings, parties and special events.

Getting to the BSDFF Missoula is easily accessible by highway. Interstate 90 runs east-west through the Missoula valley, and Montana Highway 93 travels north-south. By air, you can fly into Missoula International Airport (with flights offered by Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Delta Airlines & United Airlines). Once you are downtown, all our venues are quite walkable (snow or shine) and there is not a great need for a car while you are enjoying the festival events. It is easy to get around Missoula whether you decide to rent a car, take the bus or call a cab. Missoula is a community that prides itself in making all attempts to reduce traffic congestion and provide eco-friendly transportation options.

How do I book my accommodation? To see our hotel blocks HERE

What if you didn't anwer my question? Send us an email at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)