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Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2022 submissions are now CLOSED.

The open call for film submissions to the 19th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival runs May 17 through October 8, 2021. The festival open call accepts submissions of non-fiction films of all forms, lengths, subject matters and genres. View the submissions FAQ below or visit FilmFreeway for more information on rules & terms, fees, categories, deadlines and more. 



Early Bird Deadline - June 30, 2021

Regular Deadline - August 31, 2021

Late Deadline - October 8, 2021

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Submissions FAQ

In What Way Will The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2022 Be Affected By COVID-19?
It is our greatest hope to hold an in-person or hybrid event in February 2022. As the festival nears we will evaluate what is possible and proceed accordingly. We must be certain the festival is safe, productive and holds value for all involved.

How Will I Know If My Film Is Selected For The Festival?
We will notify the contact person on the entry form via e-mail by early January at the latest regarding the status of your submission.

Does Big Sky Film Festival Require Premieres?
With few exceptions, Big Sky requires that films have not been screened or broadcast in Montana prior to the festival. However, the festival does take other previous screenings, broadcasts, and online availability into consideration when making its official selections.  

If My Film Is Accepted To Screen Is It Eligible To Win An Award?
Big Sky has four award categories - Best Feature (over 40 minutes), Best Short (15-39 minutes), Best Mini-Doc (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 5-10 films in each category from the Offical Selections. The nominees in each category will be announced by late January. 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.  

Does Big Sky Qualify My Film To Compete For An Oscar? 
The winning films of both the Best Short and Best Mini-Doc 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 at the Final (late) Entry Deadline only. 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 February 1, 2022 in order to be screened. 

Can I Submit An Updated Version Of My Film?
We are unable to consider new cuts of films once they are entered. Please choose the right time to enter based on your progress and do not enter new cuts or make requests for the programming team to consider an updated cut.

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 have applied online through FilmFreeway, you can log into your online application and check your submission status to see if your film has been received by the Programming Department.  

What Submission Formats Do You Accept For Entry?
Secure online screeners including a link and password via FilmFreeway. Big Sky does not accept submissions on Blu-ray, DVD or any other physical media.

What Kind Of Films Do You Show?
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival screens exclusively documentary films. 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?
English subtitles are required for any film with non-English dialogue.  English over-dubbing is acceptable but discouraged.

How Do I Alert You If My Contact Info Changes?
Please do not email changes to your contact information.  Keep your project page on FilmFreeway up-to-date. If you do not keep this information up-to-date, we cannot guarantee that you will receive information about your entry as the festival approaches.

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

When And Where Is The Festival?
The 19th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival will take place February 18-27, 2022 in Missoula, Montana with possible virtual exhibition contingency.