15th Annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Runs February 16-25, 2018 in Downtown Missoula
Now entering its fifteenth year, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF) is established as Montana’s premier cinema event and the largest documentary film festival in the American West. A program of the non-profit Big Sky Film Institute, BSDFF is a prolific 10-day event held every February in Missoula and lights up western Montana with over 150 extraordinary films from across the globe. The festival hosts hundreds of filmmakers and 20,000 engaged film goers attending screenings, live events, educational programs, and film industry forums. Official theater venues for BSDFF 2018 include The Wilma, the Roxy Theater, the MCT Center for the Performing Arts and Missoula Hellgate Elks Lodge.
In recent years the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences introduced BSDFF as an Oscar-qualifying festival in the Documentary Shorts category. Named in MovieMaker Magazine’s 2017 “50 Best Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee,” BSDFF received a record 1,800 entries from 75 countries and continues to be an internationally recognized, vital festival bringing business and cultural cache to Missoula along with stories from around the world.
In addition to screenings, BSDFF hosts the Big Sky DocShop, a five-day filmmaker’s forum that includes panels, workshops, and the popular Big Sky Pitch for works in progress. The 2018 DocShop conference will focus on the intersection of film and technology, an exploration of innovative production equipment and systems, multimedia platforms and distribution, and how to navigate the increasingly prominent world of virtual reality. DocShop 2018 is funded in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and will feature representatives from Vimeo, Vulcan Productions, Sundance Institute New Frontier, Tribeca Film Institute, Gravitas Ventures, Seed & Spark and ITVS among other industry voices.
Each year BSDFF presents retrospective programming spotlighting the body of work of celebrated and accomplished filmmakers. In 2018 BSDFF will feature Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Kirby Dick. Known for exploring issues of secrecy, hypocrisy and human sexuality, Dick’s progressive repertoire includes monumental exposé The Hunting Ground, breakthrough MPAA investigation piece This Film Is Not Yet Rated, and military spotlight The Invisible War which won the 2014 Emmy Award for Best Documentary and Outstanding Investigative Journalism, a 2013 Peabody award and the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.
Big Sky is also delighted to present a retrospective on veteran documentary filmmaker and investigative journalist Greg Barker. Barker looks for strong personal narratives that illuminate the complexities and moral ambiguities of global politics and war. For THE FINAL YEAR Barker secured unprecedented access to the White House and State Department, capturing the emotions and human dynamics behind American diplomacy at its highest levels. Barker’s other films include HBO’s Manhunt, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, (Prime-Time Emmy®), Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma, Sergio (Sundance editing award), and Koran by Heart. Barker previously worked as a journalist, making numerous films for PBS/Frontline, including the acclaimed Ghosts of Rwanda.
This year Big Sky is proud to launch the Native Filmmaker Initiative, funded in part by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including a strand of films directed or produced by Native American filmmakers and a fellowship program. Additional special programming will include a free opening night screening, an evening celebrating audio documentaries in partnership with Montana Public Radio, and virtual reality selection The Antarctica Series from New York Times VR.
The 15th Annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival takes place February 16-25, 2018. Tickets, official selections and the complete festival screening schedule will be released in January. All Access passes and All Screening passes are on sale now and discounted through December. For more information on the festival, tickets and passes, the Big Sky Film Institute and 2018 programs visit http://www.bigskyfilmfest.org.