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The Big Sky Documentary Youth Fellowship is a five month long mentorship program giving up to 5 MCPS high school students the opportunity to make a short documentary film (10 minutes or under) which will screen at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF) in February. Students will meet once a month for a two-hour group session with a Big Sky Film Institute artist in residence. These sessions will give the students knowledge of the historical background of documentary film, basic filmmaking techniques and time for group workshopping. Students participating in the program will be encouraged to work in groups of two or three. Each student or group will be able to meet with his or her BSDFF mentor once a month to get individual feedback and advice.

Once the films are completed, students will receive an All-Access Pass to the festival, which will allow them to attend all films, panels and workshops. Additionally, during the festival participants will have the opportunity to discuss their work with industry professionals in group meetings with visiting filmmakers. This is a sizable time commitment for students, which should end up being around 3-4 hours of work each week. It is also advised that students have some experience using editing software and a video camera, though if they do not we will still consider them for the program. 

Applications for the Fall 2021 fellowship are open! For more information contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Coronavirus Precautions:

Big Sky Film Institute (BSFI) is taking precaution with in-person activities of the Big Sky Documentary Youth Fellowship, ensuring CDC guidelines are being closely followed and students have what they need to participate and succeed in the course. We are adapting our Youth Fellowship course to follow the Montana reopening guidelines and will continue to follow these as we prepare for the fall Fellowship. For questions or concerns regarding the 2021-22 Documentary Youth Fellowship please email the Education Programs Coordinator at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

For additional information on the coronavirus and precautionary measures, please visit the following websites:

Special thanks to program sponsor Harvest Home Care for providing PPE for our classroom!




MY ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL - directed by Maren Mace-Dyck

Willard is a “school of choice” designed for students who want to earn a high school diploma and who want to participate in an educational experience preparing them for their adult roles and responsibilities in the 21st Century. Following Maren, a high school student at Willard Alternative High School, My Alternative School explores the benefits of alternative learning styles and smaller classrooms amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.


THE COVID CLASSROOM - directed by Catherine Waddell

Following the Waddell family as they navigate teaching from home, The Covid Classroom explores what it means to learn through the screen with a family of 6.


LOST INNOCENCE - directed by Maire Odermann

Generational trauma seeps into our everyday lives as both old and young explain how the most famous tragedies affected them.




DRUM - directed by Sam Pelger

John Wicks is a business owner, drummer, husband, and father. In the past ten years he has made Missoula his home and the community has felt his love and hard work. How does he successfully balance work and family while maintaining passion for everything he does? What drives John?


INSPIRE - directed by Abby Rhoderick

Erik Pallister is a beloved climber, rock climbing route developer, and friend in his local outdoor community in Missoula, MT. When faced with unexpected adversity, “Inspire” tells the story of his journey through recovery, and the community of people that helped him along in the process.


SEPERATE TOGETHER - directed by Rhiannon Moreland

Horses brought these two together, and has kept them together. From their struggles bloomed a program in which they use their experienced challenges to help others work through theirs. Now, across the country, their program Herd 2 Human uses horses to bring people together, just as the horses did for them.



MY GRANDPA IS A PUNK - directed by Sage Chimo

One of the first adopters of snowboarding and founder of ‘Edge of the World’, Greg Barrow, explains what it was like to see the winter sport blossom into what it is today. Following the story of a snowboarding legend with a variety of quirky hobbies, MY GRANDPA IS A PUNK offers a witty portrait of a grandfather and the charming family unit that help keep his legacy alive.


MUSIC COMPOSED ME - directed by Lizz Dellinger

Follow local high school and university musicians as they describe how the hard work, mentally draining practice, and physically demanding requirements of band have led them to be the people they are today.



THE ROOKIE - directed by Luke Nicholson

Missoula firefighter Matt Wheeler reflects on a childhood event that changed his life, as well as the way in which a positive act can have far-reaching impacts.



URBAN NATIVE - directed by Sheltah Chase

URBAN NATIVE follows Native American teenagers living around the US, as they navigate between traditional life and urban life.



AN ANONYMOUS REBELLION - directed by Michael Workman

An Anonymous Rebellion follows a local teenage graffiti duo. The two are not looking for personal fame, but rather a reputation through their aliases while proving you don’t need a gallery or permission to exhibit your art.