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Submissions for the 2016 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival are not open yet. Check back in late spring.

Join our monthly email list to receive reminders about up-coming entry deadlines.


How Will I Know if My Film Is Selected for the Festival?
We will notify the contact person on the entry form by mid-December at the latest via e-mail or phone regarding the status of your film.

Does Big Sky Film Festival require premieres?
Big Sky does not have any premiere requirements. However, the festival does take previous screenings and broadcasts into consideration when making its official selections, particularly when films have already screened or broadcast in Montana.   

If my film is accepted to screen is it eligible to win an award?
Big Sky has four award categories - Best Feature Documentary (over 40 minutes), Best Short Documentary (15-40 minutes), Best MiniDoc (under 15 minutes), and the Big Sky Award (best film about the American West of any length).  All films entered are eligible to participate in the competitions.  Competition films will be comprised of 8-10 films in each category from the Offical Selections.  The finalists in each category will be announced by early January 2015.  Three independent jurors in each category chose the winning films and may also select one film per category to receive an "Artistic Vision Award."  Winning films are announced at an awards reception during the festival in February 2015.  

Does Big Sky qualify my film to compete for an Oscar? 
The winning films of both the Best Documentary Short and Best MiniDoc category automatically qualify to compete for an Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Short Form Documentary Award the following year.  

I Submitted My Documentary Last Year and It Was Not Accepted. Can I Submit It Again?
Yes, you are welcome to re-submit, but we do not encourage re-submission unless the film has undergone significant re-working since it was entered previously.

Can I Submit More Than One Film?
Yes. However you need to treat each film as a unique entry, and create a separate application for each.

Can I Submit a Rough Cut?
Rough cuts are accepted for entry. If you submit a rough cut, we cannot guarantee that the programmers will be able to review an updated cut at a later date. If you are submitting a rough cut, make sure it is indicated as such on your submission copy. Please be sure to indicate your final intended running time, what is incomplete: temporary sound, no credits or titles, missing scenes, etc. Big Sky does not exhibit works-in-progress at the festival and therefore films must be completed by January 15, 2015 in order to be screened. 

Can I Submit an Updated Version of My Film?
Please send only ONE version of your film.  If you have made significant changes since submission, you may email the Director of Programming about submitting a new cut, but we cannot guarantee that it will be considered. 

How Recently Must My Film Have Been Completed to Be Eligible?
Films from any production date are eligible to enter. 

How Can I Be Sure You Received My Submission?
If you use our downloadable pdf, you will receive an email to the primary contact on the application form acknowledging receipt of your entry. If you have applied online through, you can log into your online application and see if your film has been received by the Programming Department.  You may also send us a self-addressed, stamped postcard, which we will mail back to you as confirmation of receipt.

What Submission Formats Do You Accept for Entry?
The format of your submission should be DVD (region-free or region 1, NTSC and PAL), Blu-Ray disc, secure online screeners including a link and password, or Quicktime (.mov) file on a usb device or data disc. 

What Kind of Films Do You Show?
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is an exclusively documentary film festival. We are open to all styles, forms, and content so long as they are essentially non-fiction works. Genres include personal, political, historical, experimental, biography, animation, and many more.

If the Film Is in a Language Other Than English, Do You Require Subtitles?
Yes, we require subtitles (preferred) or dubbing on any film that is in a language other than English.

How Do I Alert You if My Contact Info Changes?
You can notify the Director of Programming with any changes by e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or make changes directly to Withoutabox if you've entered using that platform.

Can I Receive Feedback or Comments on My Film?
Unfortunately, because of the high volume of film submissions we are unable to provide feedback on your submission.

When and Where Is the Festival?
February 6-16, 2015 at several theaters and venues in downtown Missoula, Montana.