For 15 years, Big Sky has continued to engage vibrant conversations evolving in the industry, pushing the definition of documentary to discover what lies at its boundaries. While Big Sky will always be a film festival, it cannot go unnoticed that audio documentary has recently been the fastest growing medium in the documentary field, with radio and podcasts enjoying a proverbial 21st century renaissance. At the 2017 festival, Big Sky dipped its toe in the audio pool, hosting a Listen Lounge where individuals could don a pair of headphones and indulge in locally produced audio documentaries. While participants enjoyed this offering, a desire emerged for a more interactive and shared festival experience.

For the 2018 festival, BSFI will hold an open call for audio documentaries, seeking submissions from around the globe. Selections will air at the 15th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival at collective listening events, providing attendees a true festival experience with a media that is most often consumed in solitude or limited company.

Big Sky will also include a deeper dive into audio-doc producing as part of the 2018 DocShop conference, a 5-day forum that will spotlight the intersection of film and technology. Sound recording, audio editing and audio effects are all integral parts of producing a compelling documentary film. A panel of audio producers and film audio experts will discuss trends in audio doc that have implications for documentary film as well as the future of the audio documentary as a storytelling medium.


Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is seeking submissions of audio documentaries, non-fiction stories of any subject or genre, for consideration in the 2018 AudioDocs program at BSDFF. (Submissions for 2018 are now closed.)


    • $10 entry fee for all entries, any length
    • Submissions open through November 5, 2017


Entries should consist of an individual documentary and can range between 3 and 25 minutes in length. 

To be considered for selection, entries should be produced after January 1, 2015 and should not have played via terrestrial radio or in a public setting in Montana before February 26, 2018. In short, we’re looking for fresh content that will be new to Montana audiences.

Entries must be produced in English (or a combination of English and translated voice over).

Each entry should be a single MP3 audio file. Please ensure entry content excludes billboards, host intros (or ledes), advertisements and promotions for other programs.

Entries will be accepted through Submittable. Entry information will include producer bio and contact, a log line or synopsis for the entry, and an upload link for your MP3 file.


What is Audio Documentary?

Audio docs are considered radio format, non-fiction narratives that typically feature interviews or commentary with creative sound design to dramatize, elaborate, or otherwise paint a sound-picture for the listener. Over the past few years, audio documentary has gained popularity in the form of podcasts, readily available via apps on smart devices, especially amongst those consuming media in transit.

More on the appeal of audio storytelling from The Atlantic >>

Is there a theme for the BSDFF AudioDocs program?

Nope! We’re simply looking for sound-rich, true stories told creatively through another documentary medium.

How many audio documentaries can I enter?

There is no limit to how many stories you enter, just remember each individual story, episode or feature is an individual entry.

Can I submit a work-in-progress?

No. Please submit finished and final cut audio documentaries only.

Who is selecting the audio docs that will play at BSDFF?

The selection committee is a combination of radio broadcasters and audio producers working in partnership with the festival to program the 2018 AudioDocs program.

How and when will I know if my audio documentary has been selected?

All submitters will be notified of selection status via email or through Submittable in December 2017.

How will selections play at the festival?

While some AudioDocs may play in front of feature films at the festival, BSDFF is also planning collective listening events where audiences can participate in a variety of activities (or just relax) while listening. The festival takes place in Missoula, Montana, February 16-25, 2018. Stay tuned for details!

I have a question that wasn’t answered here – who should I contact?

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