Big Sky Receives FilmWatch Grant from Academy for Native Filmmaker Intiative

The Big Sky Film Institute is proud to announce the launch of a Native Filmmaker Initiative made possible in part by FilmWatch grant funding from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Designed to bring more Indigenous stories to Missoula and engage the Native Filmmaking community across the Northwest, the initiative includes a Native Filmmakers Fellowship program, an Educational Outreach arm and special programming of Indigenous films at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.

The Academy's FilmWatch and FilmCraft grant programs were established to identify and empower future filmmakers from nontraditional backgrounds, cultivate new and diverse talent, promote motion pictures as an art form and provide a platform for underrepresented artists. Announced April 21st, grants were awarded to 44 organizations including the American Film Institute, International Documentary Association and the Sundance Institute, among many other prestigious film festivals, educational institutions and film scholars.

Honored to be selected by The Academy alongside so many distinguished programs, BSFI is thrilled to expand our capacity for Native content and partnerships. The Native Filmmaker Initiative will launch in the Fall of 2017. Programming and recruitment begin soon, stay tuned for more announcements!

Apr 26, 2017 | permalink


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MovieMaker Magazine selects Big Sky for 2017 “50 Best Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee”

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is honored to be selected one of the “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” by MovieMaker Magazine for the second time in just four years. The list, created annually to help guide filmmakers contemplating their festival strategy, spotlights the benefits of screening at festivals outside the mainstream festival circuit. MovieMaker also points out the unique merits each event offers to help a film find impact in niche markets and expand collaboration networks.

MovieMaker’s 2017 selections focused on festivals that prioritize submissions (as opposed to special invitation or other means). Responding to feedback from a survey of online readers, MovieMaker also sought festivals that provided a venue to “forge a genuine connection with audiences who are truly engaged.” 

“To receive this honor from MovieMaker on the heels of our 14th festival is a cherry on top of a huge year for Big Sky,” says BSDFF director Rachel Gregg. “We screened in more venues than ever before and welcomed more filmmakers and industry to Montana than ever before, but success for us is not really about getting bigger. We aim to cultivate value and impact for the documentary filmmaking community and nurture the art form for both creators and consumers of the medium. It's exciting to be listed among a host of incredible festivals helping elevate independent film and auteurs. We owe it to the overwhelming support of the Missoula community, our filmmaker alum, and the industry for making Big Sky something really special.”

News of this selection comes just weeks before Big Sky’s call for entries for the 2018 festival. Submissions open May 15 with a discounted early bird entry fee for films submitted by June 30, 2017.

Read the full article from MovieMaker Magazine here >>

Apr 17, 2017 | permalink


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2017 Award Winners

Announcing the 2017 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival Award Winners

The festival, which wraps up 10 days of the best in documentary filmmaking from around the world this Sunday (Feb. 26), awards four major prizes, two of which are Oscar-qualifying. A selection of award-winning films will screen on Sunday, Feb. 26 at the Roxy Theater at 10am and 12:30pm.

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is just about to wrap 10 days of eye-opening, thought-provoking, and diverse nonfiction filmmaking. With over 200 films in the festival, the following competition films have been given awards in our four categories.

Four BSDFF competitions shine a spotlight on superior works in documentary filmmaking. One prize winner in each category was selected by the festival jury in each of the following categories, and considerations were made for artistic vision. Winners in each category receive a $500 cash prize, and winners of the Short Documentary and Mini-Doc competitions automatically qualify for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar consideration in the Documentary Short category for 2017. 

Says Festival Director Rachel Gregg: "We're extremely proud to have been able to share these incredibly accomplished films with the people of Montana and all our visiting guests. We're thrilled to provide an opportunity for these movies to find an even larger audience thanks to the reach of these prestigious awards. Thanks to our juries for making the hard decisions!"

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BIG SKY AWARD

Presented to one film that artistically honors the character, history, tradition and imagination of the American West

Sponsored by First Interstate Bank

Jury: Sean O’Brien (University of Montana), Tenzin Phuntsog (Montana State University), and Bryan Bello (Filmmaker).

WINNER: 100 YEARS: ONE WOMAN’S FIGHT FOR JUSTICE 

Melinda Janko, 2016, USA, 76 minutes / Montana Premiere

100 Years is the David vs. Goliath story of Elouise Cobell’s courageous fight for justice for 300,000 Native Americans whose mineral rich lands were mismanaged by the United States Government.  For 30 years Elouise Cobell fought “the good fight.” This is the compelling true story of how she prevailed and made history.

Big Sky Artistic Vision Award

WINNER: OYATE 

Dan Grimus , 2016, USA, 73 minutes / World Premiere

OYATE is a film about life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in southwestern South Dakota. It follows two families as they go about their daily activities over the course of a single summer. They attend rodeos, shoot clay pigeons, and participate in pow wows. Family members get married, have children, and celebrate the 4th of July. All the while, the difficult, often intractable realities of modern reservation life threaten to encroach upon them.

Jury statement: In recognition of the film’s artistic merit, approach and cinematography, the jury presents Dan Grimus’s OYATE the Artistic Vision Award for its cinematic eye, observational gaze, and ability to capture the beauty in the everyday.

 

MINI DOC COMPETITION

Films 15 minutes and under

Jury members: Daniel Junge (Filmmaker), Gianna Savoie (Ocean Media Institute), and Mark Vargo (Cinematographer).

WINNER: THE FOURTH KINGDOM

Alex Lora, Adan Aliaga, 2017, Spain, USA, 14 minutes / World Premiere

The Fourth Kingdom is the kingdom of plastics, a redemption center in NY for immigrants and underdogs where the American Dream becomes possible indeed.

 

SHORT COMPETITION

Films between 15 and 40 minutes in length

Jury: Daniel Cross (Filmmaker), Deia Schlosberg (Filmmaker), and Joy Dietrich (MSU)

WINNER: KAYAYO: THE LIVING SHOPPING BASKETS

Mari Bakke Riise, 2016, Norway, 32 minutes / North American Premiere

In the capital of Ghana, 10,000 girls from the ages of 6 work as real life shopping baskets - called Kayayo, carrying heavy loads on their head (from 130 to 220 pounds), earning very little and some end up in prostitution to make ends meet. This documentary is about Bamunu, an 8-year old girl who hasn’t seen her family since she was sent away from home two years ago to work as a Kayayo to support her family.  We follow her incessant longing to get away from the harsh markets, her journey back home and what awaits there.

Shorts Competition Artistic Vision Award

WINNER: THE RAIN WILL FOLLOW

Eugene Richards, 2016, USA — 15 minutes / Northwest Premiere

Though confined to a nursing home, 90-year-old Melvin Wisdahl lives an interior life, filled with images of the war he fought in, the struggles of the early Norwegian settlers of North Dakota, his ghost town of a home, his love of the ever-evolving and threatened land.

Jury Statement: The jury presents an Artistic Vision Award to THE RAIN WILL FOLLOW, which beautifully marries internal and external landscape imagery in a way that infuses the whole film with a third complete and powerful through line.   

 

FEATURE COMPETITION

Films over 40 minutes in length

Jury: Nadine Ajaka (The Atlantic), Anne Devereaux (Filmmaker), and Bryan Glick (The Film Collaborative)

WINNER: CRADLE OF CHAMPIONS

Bartle B Bull, 2017, USA, 100 minutes / Northwest Premiere

Fighting for your life in the city of dreams. Three extraordinary young people battle to change their lives through the three-month odyssey of the New York Daily News Golden Gloves—the biggest, oldest, most important amateur boxing tournament in the world.

Feature Competition Artistic Vision Award 

WINNER: LET THERE BE LIGHT

Mila Aung-Thwin, 2017, Canada, 100 minutes / World Premiere

LET THERE BE LIGHT follows the story of dedicated scientists working to build a small sun on Earth, which would unleash perpetual, cheap, clean energy for mankind. After decades of failed attempts, a massive push is now underway to crack the holy grail of energy.

Jury Statement - In recognition of the film’s artistic merit and educational value, the jury presents LET THERE BE LIGHT with an Artistic Vision Award for its cinematic eye, innovative animation, and engaging (passionate) investigation into the future of fusion (clean energy).

Feb 25, 2017 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Montana Film Office

The Montana Film Office is an award-winning office of film and PR professionals.  Established in 1974, the Film Office is a component of the Montana Department of Commerce dedicating themselves to promoting the state of Montana as a filming location to the film/TV/ print industries and inviting those productions into Montana for the overall economic benefit of the state, assisting producers in finding locations to fit their scripts and acting as a liaison through every phase of production, and nurturing and supporting the development of their resident crew base, as well as resident Montana filmmakers.  

The Montana Film Office will be sponsoring 2017's BSDFF filmmaker reception on Saturday, February 25th at the Dana Gallery, and will also be assisting in travel costs to bring filmmakers to the festival, continuing to foster the development of the film industry in Montana.  

Learn more about the Montana Film Office here

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter. The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons. THANK YOU.

 

Feb 08, 2017 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: S & K Technologies

As part of an economic development plan established by tribal leadership, S & K Technologies has a commitment to providing gainful education, employment and training for the tribal community, and strive to provide a yearly shareholder dividend that is directly invested in social and economic programs for their people. 

S & K Technologies will be a sponsor for this year's BSDFF film strand titled, Indigenous Visions, staying true to their commitment to the inclusion of the tribal community and continuing the education and conversations around indigenous cultures. 

More information about S & K Technologies at http://www.sktcorp.com/

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community and expand the knowledge and conversation around the issues that matter.  The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons.  THANK YOU.  

Jan 30, 2017 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Tribeca Film Institute

The Tribeca Film Institute is a year-round non-profit organization rooted in the energetic locale of New York City.  Founded in the wake of September 11th, 2001 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff, Tribeca connects filmmakers to audiences to continue conversations brought to the table by socially-relevant documentary and scripted films.  Each year, Tribeca Film Institute identifies a diverse group of exceptional filmmakers and media artists to provide funding for their work, giving them the resources to fully realize their stories.  Tribeca also offers a number of educational programs to empower students through hands-on training, encouraging creativity and global engagement for young people across the nation.  

Tribeca Film Institute is a sponsor of BSDFF 2017's DocShop, bringing expertise and creative visions to panels and workshops throughout the week and supporting BSDFF's aspirations to inspire filmmakers, innovators, students and media industry leaders to continue exploring the cutting-edge ideas in the field of documentary film.  

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter.  The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons.  THANK YOU.   

Jan 18, 2017 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Community Medical Center

Community Medical Center is a widely recognized hospital, known for providing the longest standing obstetrical and newborn care in Missoula, as well as the longest standing, largest and most comprehensive Rehabilitation Center of its kind in Western Montana.  In addition, it is the only hospital in Western Montana that has a separate Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for kids.  With top-notch medical programs offered, Community Medical Center remains true to their promise- "your care, our committment, from day one."

Every year, BSDFF looks to jump off the screen and share a multimedia performance which intersects with other art forms.  Community Medical Center is proud to sponsor a special screening and performance of Pasadena-based dace company Lineage Dance's Healing Blue, an innovative dance/film piece that provides an intimate glimpse into the strength, struggles and diversity of women in their fight against breast cancer.  

Healing Blue: A Multimedia Dance Performance will take place on February 22nd at the Missoula Children's Theater at 7PM.

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter.  The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons.  THANK YOU.

Jan 18, 2017 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Missoula Federal Credit Union

Voted Best of Missoula for 20 years running and Missoula’s Choice for 15 years running, Missoula Federal Credit Union provides exceptional financial partnerships for its members. MFCU believes in helping people, educating youth, and environmental sustainability and offers a variety of services ranging from loans, educational seminars, low interest credit cards and a surcharge-free ATM network.  

As an advocate for local educational opportunities, MFCU has sponsored past BSDFF Schoolhouse Docs programs, featuring after school movies for kids and families during the film festival. This year MFCU will be our partner for the Big Sky Film Series, helping BSFI bring documentary film programming to Missoula even after the festival is over. Taking place in the Spring and Fall months in 2017, Big Sky Film Series screenings are FREE events highlighting traditional and innovative non-fiction film. An engaged organization committed to community, MFCU helps us bring FREE entertainment to Missoula – all year long.

Learn more about MFCU at https://missoulafcu.org/

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter. The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons. THANK YOU.

Jan 06, 2017 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: The Missoula Independent

The Missoula Independent, Western Montana's Weekly Journal of People, Politics, and Culture, offers an in-depth perspective on our uniique life here in the "Last Best Place." The Independent is Missoula's largest weekly newspaper, with a distribution of about 20,000 readers all across the region.  Promoting a host of local events, restaurants, and community news stories, the Independent provides insight to forces that affect readers' cultural landscape in order to help them understand the true nature of their community.  

Telling true stories is at the heart of the work of both the Missoula Independent and the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival.  Our partner in entertainment and journalism, the Indy helps get our festival schedule into the hands of attendees in their mid-February edition every year and provides sneak peeks into BSFI film events all year with regular film reviews, keeping the community connected throughout the festival week and beyond.  Find out what's current at the Missoula Independent at http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/, or pick up a hard copy at one of your favorite Missoula shops. 

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter.  The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses,organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons.  THANK YOU.  

Dec 26, 2016 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: HBO

With an audience reach of approximately 127 million subscribers worldwide, HBO (Home Box Office) is the leading television programming and distribution platform providing viewers with groundbreaking series, films, documentaries and sports.  The expansive visions of HBO have helped BSDFF come alive each opening night for years; HBO is a sustaining opening night sponsor, helping us kick off the festival with a free screening, a packed house buzzing with anticipation and excitement for the stories waiting to be told during BSDFF’s Festival Week.

This year’s opening night BSDFF and HBO will present “Bright Lights,” featuring Carrie Fischer and Debbie Reynolds. "Bright Lights"  is an intimate portrait of Hollywood royalty, in all its eccentricity. At 83 years old, grand dame Debbie Reynolds (star of “Singing in the Rain,”) still performs a Las Vegas act, dressed in gold lamé. But performing takes its toll, and Debbie’s health suffers. This devastates her daughter, “Star Wars” actress Carrie Fisher, whose response is both hilarious and heart-rending. Carrie is helpless in the face of her mother’s determination that “the show must go on.” Through vintage family films, iconic old-world Hollywood history comes to life. Rich cinema verité also takes us to into the heart of Beverly Hills today, where Carrie and Debbie live together. This is a film about show business, and bittersweet family love. HBO Debut: March 2017; 95 minutes

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter. The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of film industry partners and Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons. THANK YOU.

 

Dec 05, 2016 | permalink


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The Missoula Independent reviews IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE

Screening at the Big Sky Film Series, December 1st, 7PM @ The Silver Theatre (2023 S Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT 59801)

"Watch the film with an open heart and you'll see that it makes a valid case for why we might sometimes need to go out of our way to reach a place of quiet, and why that effort matters."

MISSOULA INDEPENDENT REVIEW

Nov 28, 2016 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Holiday Inn Downtown

Located on the scenic Clark Fork River in the heart of downtown Missoula, the Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula is the perfect place to stay when visiting for BSDFF.  The Holiday Inn is within walking distance of the business district and all of BSDFF's venues, and even has a block of discounted rates for BSDFF attendees.  The host hotel for the 2017 Festival, Holiday Inn provides visiting filmmakers, industry professionals, and out-of-town attendees with affordable, convenient, and comfortable travel and lodging options.  

For more information about the Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula, please visit their website at http://bit.ly/HolidayInnDowntownMissoula

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from all across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter.  The success of the Festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm from film industry partners and Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons.  THANK YOU. 

Nov 23, 2016 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation

The mission of the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation is to "hold fast to our sense of place and are actively involved in the communities where we live and work.  We believe in the individual spirit, but at the same time we know how important a strong support network is to the enhancement of all our lives.  The Washington Foundation strives to better the human condition by supporting programs and services that give people the tools to enhance the qualities of their lives and benefit society as a whole."

Dedication to bringing film education opportunities to Montanans and visiting filmmakers alike is what BSDFF strives to do.  The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation knows how important a strong netowork system is to the enhancement of all our lives.  That's why they help BSDFF by providing funding for our diverse selection of educational programs for all ages to create, learn and enjoy documentary film, including Schoolhouse Docs, the Big Sky Youth Fellowship and Teen Mentor Days.  

For more information about the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, please visit their website at https://www.dpwfoundation.org/

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula every year for 10 days in February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter.  The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of industry partners and Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons.  THANK YOU.  

Nov 23, 2016 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Consumer Direct Care Network

Consumer Direct Care Network is a proud supporter of people receiving personal assistance services.  Their vision is to expand the choices and control the lives of people with disabilities, the elderly and their families.  They rely on support, engagement, respect, innovation, integrity, compassion and excellence to provide outstanding service to their members.  Consumer Direct Care is a strand sponsor for the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, bringing a series of "All Abilities Films" to Missoula.  These films highlight the stories of people living with disabilities, and the communities around them.   

For more information about Consumer Care Direct Network, please visit their website at http://consumerdirectcare.com/

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter. The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons. THANK YOU.

Nov 23, 2016 | permalink


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Spotlight on Sponsors: Rocky Mountain School of Photography

Rocky Mountain School of Photography (RMSP) is a family owned school of photography based out of Missoula, Montana.  RMSP has an intimate Career Training program that ensures every student is provided with the tools necessary for understanding and mastering the trade of photography.  RMSP’s hands-on approach to education extends to a wide range of courses including a lecture series, weekend/summer intensives and workshops.  Located in the heart of downtown Missoula, RMSP offers a unique backdrop for aspiring photographers to explore the craft.  

This year BSFI partnered with RMSP on a filmmaking workshop, teaching filmmakers of all levels how to make movies using a DSLR camera. Rocky Mountain School of Photography is a sustaining sponsor of the Big Sky Documentary Film Fest and will be the host venue for the 2017 BSDFF DocShop filmmaker’s forum. We’re also excited to announce that RMSP will be the home of the BSDFF 2017 Festival Headquarters where you can buy tickets, passes and festival merchandise and get info on all things Big Sky Doc Fest!

For more information on RMSP, please visit their website at https://rmsp.com/

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival lights up downtown Missoula for 10 days every February, bring stories from across the globe to our beautiful and eclectic mountain town, create a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expand the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter. The success of the festival is defined by the marvelous support and enthusiasm of film industry partners and Missoula businesses, organizations, non-profits, theaters and dedicated patrons. THANK YOU.

 

Nov 09, 2016 | permalink


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“I Am The Blues” film series screening kicks off River City Roots with a bang

Cheers, laughter, toe tapping and frequent applause filled the Crystal Theater in Downtown Missoula Thursday night during the Big Sky Film Series screening of I AM THE BLUES, a film that fulfilled its promise to awaken the blues in all of us. In partnership with River City Roots Festival, Missoulians hoping to get the party started a day before the downtown music fest enjoyed a melodic journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and Moonshine soaked BBQs in the North Mississippi Hill Country. The film visits the last original blues devils, many in their 80s, still living in the American deep south and touring the Chitlin’ Circuit, a chorus of character filled faces, voices and stories from the champions of a changing and fading artform.

Returning to Missoula a decade after attending the Big Sky Docmentary Film Festival in 2006 with his film CHAIRMAN GEORGE, Canadian director Daniel Cross joined for a Q & A following the film to share stories from four years of filming the legendary musicians. Capturing over 400 hours of footage and racking up the miles between the musicians' hometowns across three states, Cross said none of them appeared in the film for the fame - they've been performing their whole lives and their form of the blues will pass when they do. 

"They are the last blues players that grew up picking cotton," remarked Cross. "There are young people playing the blues, and though they're inspired by the tradition, their experience is different. Like you heard in the film, we all have our reasons for the blues, and the new crop of blues players are a reflection of a different time."

A reminder of the power of music to bring joy and longevity, I AM THE BLUES perfectly set the stage for a music filled weekend at River City Roots Fest. Find more inspiration at www.iamthebluesmovie.com.

Aug 25, 2016 | permalink


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2016 BSDFF Daily Highlights – Sunday Feb 28

2016 BSDFF

Daily Highlights – Sunday Feb 28

FILMS

Films at the Wilma, Crystal, Roxy and Top Hat beginning at 10:00am

A Certain Kind of Light – 93-year old Wil Alexander has sat at the bedside of the sick and dying for 40 years. This film follows Wil as he cares for sick, wounded and terminal patients without the modern technology that defines most healthcare practices. Anchor of a five-film block. Wilma, 12:00pm.

Bill Evans, Time Remembered – Driven by Evans’ own voice through performances and interviews, this film documents the jazz legend’s achievements and profound personal struggles. Top Hat, 12:30pm.

The Shelter – With the help of family and friends, an Iranian woman establishes a shelter to care for both wild and domestic animals. World Premiere. Roxy, 2:15pm.

Killing Them Safely – the story behind TASER International, from its founding as a gun-alternative law-enforcement tool to an unforeseen, post-success reckoning. Top Hat, 3:00pm.

Here Come the Videofreex – In the 60s and 70s, a group of renegade journalists blazed a trail for truly alternative media. Featuring newly-restored interviews of icons like murdered Black Panther Fred Hampton and legendary activist Abbie Hoffman. Roxy, 4:00pm.

A Poem is A Naked Person – The legendary documentarian Les Blank’s long-dormant portrait of equally legendary singer-songwriter and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Leon Russell. Shot between 1972 and 1974 but only recently released for public viewing. Crystal, 6:45pm.

The Bug – Missoula filmmaker Damon Ristau’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2012 film The Bus, this is the story of the most beloved and recognizable automobile on Earth. Wilma, 7:00pm.

Award-Winners! Winners of the Best Short and Big Sky Award competitions. Films TBA. Wilma, 9:00pm.

FILMMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE

Q&A following film screening

Sandorkraut – Emily Lobsenz, co-director. Heavy Fog Tonight – Nathan Reich, director. Roxy, 10:15am.

Life is Grand – Bhawin Suchak, producer. Living Like Kings – Benjamin Kaplan, director. Crystal, 12:45pm.

A Certain Kind of Light – Brandon Vedder, director; Sean Galloway, composer; Carla Gober-Park, producer. Yaya the Wise Man – Ian Frank, director. Wilma, 12:00pm.

Borderline – Rebbie Ratner, director. Roxy, 12:15pm.

Bill Evans, Time Remembered – Annie Buford, subject. Top Hat, 12:30pm.

The Sun is Heavy – Jared Jakins and Carly Jakins, co-directors. Use of Force – Rita Baghdai and Jeremiah Hammerling, co-directors. Where We Stand – Kristine Stolakis, director. Zone Blanche – Gaëlle Cintré, director. Wilma, 2:30pm.

Tear the Roof Off: The Untold Story of Parliament Funkadelic – Bobby J. Brown, director; three members of original P-Funk lineup. God’s in the Garage – Kendall Rock, director. Top Hat, 5:00pm.

Revival: The Sam Bush Story – Kris Wheeler, director. The Montana Sessions – Nic Davis, director. Top Hat, 8:45pm.

The Bug – Damon Ristau, director. Wilma, 9:00pm.

Full schedule of films and events: bigskyfilmfest.org.

Feb 28, 2016 | permalink


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2016 Winners Announced!

February 26, 2016

BIG SKY DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES COMPETITION WINNERS

Missoula, MT – Before a boisterous crowd packed into The Loft in downtown Missoula tonight, the juries of the 2016 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival revealed their selections in the festival’s four competition categories.

Thanks to the award sponsorship from the Montana Film Office, each of the winning filmmakers receives a $500 prize. And due to the festival’s recognition by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the winners of the Mini-Doc and Short categories are now eligible for Oscar consideration. Juries also had the option to award an Artistic Vision award in each category.

Mini-Doc Competition – films 15 minutes and under

Winner: MINING, POEMS, OR ODES, directed by Callum Rice - Robert, an ex-shipyard welder from Scotland, reflects on how his life experience’s have influenced his new found compulsion to write. His retrospective poetry revels a man who is trying to achieve a state of contentment through words and philosophy.

Artistic Vision Award. Mini-Doc Competition: A CEREBRAL GAME, directed by Reid Davenport - A filmmaker with cerebral palsy ponders his changing identity through the lens of baseball.

Jury Statement: The jury is pleased to present an Artistic Vision Award to A Cerebral Game, a film we feel especially demonstrates the core virtues of perseverance and passion that are essential to the art of filmmaking itself, and perhaps especially to the documentary genre. It's quite an accomplishment to make a great documentary of any length - but this filmmaker has emerged against all odds. In this case, the filmmaker narrates his own story while creating a visual landscape that is at once disorienting and nostalgic - and the result is so raw and compelling it's impossible to turn away. We open on shaky ground and come to discover, thanks to this director's honesty and fearlessness, that we are watching the results of his inability to hold the camera steady - and that that ability is not what makes great filmmaking.  He has the talent and fortitude to move forward and work on his dream and the resulting film is truly moving and inspiring. 

Mini-Doc Competition Jury: Molly Murphy, Working Films; Lucy Walker, filmmaker; Ondi Timoner, filmmaker; Suki Hawley, filmmaker.

Short Competition – films between 15 and 40 minutes in length

Winner: DAGUAVA DELTA, directed by Rainer Komers - Far from the centre of the Latvian city of Riga, the suburbs Bolderāja and Daugavgriva are a kind of social island or biotope - a blend of apartment and detached family houses, backyards, shipyards, docks, yacht club, sea academy, historic fortress and barracks. Here, where the Daugava River flows into the Bay of Riga, anglers crowd the sunny mole during the spawning season of sprat, while veterans in the local pub are in memorial of their fallen fathers on Victory Day.

Artistic Vision Award, Short Competition: ZONE BLANCHE, directed by Gaëlle Cintré - Four women who are electro-hypersensitive -a rare condition where people find themselves acutely intolerant to electromagnetic fields, including cell phone signals and WiFi- are driven deep into the Alps in search for remote shelters. Because of their extreme condition, their way of life, between a primitive existence and post-apocalyptic science-fiction, has never been photographed. Until now.

Jury Statement: Working within the constraints of being unable to record with any electronic digital media, Zone Blanche creates a rich portrait of women who must live outside of society because of their sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Utilizing the poetic language of avant-garde cinema, the film draws on the documentary impulse to give the audience access to the experiences of people who don't have the option to tell their stories in contemporary digital media.

Short Competition Jury: Michael Galinsky, filmmaker; Talena Sanders, filmmaker; Deny Staggs, Montana Film Office.

Big Sky Award - Presented to one film that artistically honors the character, history, tradition and imagination of the American West.

Winner: HUNTING IN WARTIME, directed by Samantha Farinella - Profiles of Tlingit veterans from Hoonah, Alaska who saw combat during the Vietnam War. The veterans talk about surviving trauma, relating to Vietnamese civilians, readjusting to civilian life, and serving a government that systematically oppresses native people. Their stories give an important human face to the combat soldier and show the lasting affects of war on individuals, families and communities.

Big Sky Award Jury: Melinda Booth, Wild & Scenic Film Festival; Kathy Kasic, filmmaker; Eileen Rafferty, photographer/media artist.

Feature Competition – films over 40 minutes in length

Winner: LAST OF THE ELEPHANT MEN, directed by Daniel Ferguson and Arnaud Bouquet - For centuries, the Bunong indigenous people of Eastern Cambodia lived with elephants, depending on them for every aspect of life. Now with the forest around them threatened by logging and mining companies, both the Bunong and the elephant face a desperate struggle to survive.

Jury Statement: We were struck by the film's sensitive exploration of the mythic relationship between elephants and people among the Bunong people of Cambodia. The film is beautifully and patiently shot.  By capturing the interdependency between the Bunong and their elephants, it turns these amazing animals into characters in their own right.

Artistic Vision Award, Feature: FOLLOWING KINA, directed by Sonia Goldenberg - When Kina Malpartida won her title as the first Peruvian World Boxing Champion, the country was struck by a female boxing fever. Inspired by her, two young women fight against all odds to sustain a dream and become the next champion. Without any official support, they are driven by passion and perseverance to succeed in a totally male-dominated sport.

Jury Statement: We were highly impressed with the manner in which the film takes viewers into the real world of women’s boxing in Peru, culminating in the insightful depiction of the rural and urban backdrops to two women, Alicia and Anita, both of whom hope to follow in the footsteps of Kina Malpardita.

Feature Competition Jury: Larry Abramson, UM School of Journalism; Adam Piron, Sundance Film Festival; Justine Nagan, American Documentary, Inc., POV.

 

Feb 27, 2016 | permalink


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2016 BSDFF Daily Highlights – Saturday Feb 27

2016 BSDFF

Daily Highlights – Saturday Feb 27

Films at the Wilma, Crystal, Roxy and Top Hat, beginning at 10:00pm.

Dead When I Got Here – Compassion and redemption are discovered by a man who manages a mental asylum run by its own patients in Juarez, Mexico, and amplified when his daughter, who thought him dead, discovers him during the making of the film. Wilma, 10:00am.

Shorts galore! 24 short films over three screenings at the Wilma. 12:00pm, 2:15pm, 4:45pm.

If Only I Were That Warrior – a monument dedicated to a fascist general drives this story of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia, and the unpunished war crimes committed by the Mussolini regime. Roxy, 12:15pm.

Felvidek: Caught in Between – Animated documentary dusts up long-forgotten stories of people from Central Europe whose post-WWII lives were shaped by a series of political decisions. U.S. Premiere. Roxy, 2:15pm.

Join Us - Ondi Timoner retrospective continues with the story of four families as they leave an abusive church in South Carolina and eventually return home to bring the pastor to justice. Crystal, 3:45pm.

Award-Winners! The winners of the Mini Doc and Feature Categories. Wilma, 7:00pm.

Chameleon – The intriguing tale of Anas, who has been called the James Bond of Ghanaian journalism. His unorthodox methods are infamous throughout Ghana, but his face is unkown to the public. Wilma, 9:15pm.

We Live in Public – Ondi Timoner retrospective concludes with this riveting, cautionary tale of what to expect as the virtual world inevitably takes control of our lives. Crystal, 10:00pm.

FILMMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE

Q&A following film screening

Peace Officer – Scott Christopherson, director. Top Hat, 12:00pm.

El Cacao – Michelle Aguilar, director. Operation Allie – Manny Marquez, director. White Lines – Jessie Posthumus and Hanna Jovin, co-directors. Wilma, 12pm.

If Only I Were That Warrior – Valerio Ciriaci, director. Roxy, 12:15pm.

The Good Mind – Gwendolen Cates, director. Crystal, 2:00pm.

Pickle – Amy Nicholson, director. Some Forgotten Calculation – C.S. Ward, director. The River Man – Richard Gorodecky, director. Winston’s Ghost: The Photography of Ryan Gustman – Brian Binder and Brian Mezerski, co-directors. Wilma, 2:15pm.

Join Us – Ondi Timoner, director. Crystal, 3:45pm.

Kickstarted – Jason Cooper and Jay Armitage, co-directors. Crystal, 6:00pm.

Country: Portraits of an American Sound – Steven Kochones, director. Crystal, 8:00pm.

We Live in Public – Ondi Timoner, director. Crystal, 10:00pm.

Full schedule of films and events: bigskyfilmfest.org.

Feb 27, 2016 | permalink


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TOMORROW AT THE 2016 BSDFF

2016 BSDFF

Daily Highlights – Thursday Feb 25

FILMS

Films at the Crystal, Roxy and Shakespeare & Co., beginning at 12:00pm.

Sunakali – A Nepalese girl’s soccer team endures hard travel and other disadvantages to make an improbable run at a soccer tournament. Crystal, 12:00pm.

Schoolhouse Docs! Screening kid-friendly films every weekday. Roxy, 4pm.

Left On Purpose – The subject of a documentary film, an anti-war activist, decides that his last political act will be to commit suicide – on camera. Now the director must choose whether to turn off the camera or use it to keep his friend alive. Crystal, 3:15pm

Ondi Timoner retrospective begins with Dig! – The story of American rock bands The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols, and the friendship/rivalry between their founders. Roxy, 6:30pm.

Breaking a Monster – The members of heavy metal/speed punk band Unlocking the Truth go from 7th-grade buskers to big-record-deal musicians in a very rapid transition. Crystal, 7:15pm.

Borderline – Regina has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She was five years old the first time she tried to kill herself. Now she’s 45 and hell-bent on staying alive – most of the time. World Premiere. Roxy, 8:45pm.

FILMMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE

Q&A following film screening

Skips Stones For Fudge – Daniel Skaggs, producer. Crystal, 1:30pm.

Left on Purpose – Justin Schein, director; Yael Bridge, producer. Crystal, 3:15pm.

Heavy Fog Tonight – Nathan Reich, director. Roxy, 4:00pm.

Dig! – Ondi Timoner, director. Roxy, 6:30pm.

Borderline – Rebbie Ratner, director. Roxy, 8:45pm.

Minimalism: A Documentary About Important Things - Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus, executive producers. Shakespeare & Co., 9:00pm.

EVENTS

Lydia Loveless live! Solo acoustic show at the Top Hat Lounge, 8:00pm. $13 at the door.

Retrospective director Lucy Walker’s virtual-reality film, The History of Cuban Dance. Organic, spontaneous, sexy dances progress chronologically through Afro-Cuban Santería rumba, mambo, cha-cha-chá, salsa, breakdancing and reggaeton, all in amazing 360° perspective! Rocky Mountain School of Photography, 9:00am – 5:00pm.

 

DocShop! A week-long series of panels and workshops featuring some of the heaviest hitters in the documentary film industry talking about films as a catalyst for change. Public welcome; for schedule and ticket information go to the DocShop page at bigskyfilmfest.org. 

 

Filmmaker, musician and photographer Michael Galinsky’s photography show “The Meadow” is on display at the Brink Gallery (111 W Front St).

 

Full schedule of films and events: bigskyfilmfest.org.

 

Feb 24, 2016 | permalink


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