13th Annual

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

February 19, 2016 to February 28, 2016

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113 West Front Street, Suite 105
Missoula MT 59802
Phone: (406) 541-3456

SPECIAL SUBMISSIONS ONLY • Final deadlines have passed. If you have a deadline waiver or special instructions from the event, select a Category of Entry to continue.

Documentary Films & Videos
This festival is open to non-fiction films and videos on any subject in any form/style, of any production date from anywhere in the world.


The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival celebrates the art of non-fiction filmmaking and promotes media literacy by establishing a forum for documentary film in the American West.


Our competitive event screens world and U.S. premieres back to back with documentary classics at multiple venues in downtown Missoula, including Montana's largest screen at the historic Wilma Theater. More than 100 films screen to enthusiastic audiences over ten days. The event also includes VIP parties and receptions, awards celebrations, and the Big Sky Doc Shop, a 5-day industry event with pitch sessions, panels, workshops and more. Awards are given in four categories - Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best MiniDoc, and the Big Sky Award. The Big Sky Award is given to one film about the American West. Artistic Vision Awards are also given in each category. Cash prizes are often awarded.

The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is an Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences qualifying event for short form documentaries. The winner of the Best MiniDoc and Best Short Documentary categories automatically qualify to compete for a Documentary Short Oscar the following year.

Distinguished judges from around the country chose the winners during the ten day festival. Special guests of the festival have included Sam Green, John Cohen, Barbara Kopple, Steve James, Les Blank, Robert Drew, Joe Berlinger, Doug Pray, Cazeh Zahedi, Hart & Dana Perry, Ron Mann, Brendan Canty, and many many more.


Doug Hawes-Davis (Director of Programming); Gita Saedi-Kiely (Executive Director)


The competitive event is open to nonfiction films and videos of all styles, subjects, and lengths. All films selected for screening will be notified of their status by approximately January 1, 2016. Films screening in one of the four competition categories will be announced by January 5, 2016. The filmmaker agrees to be responsible for all shipping and insurance costs for shipping materials to the festival office. The festival will cover return shipping of the film or video master of entries selected for screening. All submitting filmmakers and distributors will be notified of the official selections prior to the festival. Submission materials will NOT BE RETURNED. Works-in-progress may be submitted, but must be intended for completion before January 15, 2016.

Big Sky Documentary Film Festival takes the "Terms and Conditions" below very seriously. If you are not prepared to have your film screened at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February 2016, DO NOT ENTER. Please read the "Terms and Conditions" carefully. If you have questions, concerns, or special considerations, please email them to <programming@bigskyfilmfest.org>.


By submitting this documentary, I understand that I am agreeing to the following:

I own or control the copyright in and to, and am duly authorized to submit this documentary film to the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (Big Sky) and to the best of my knowledge, all statements on this document are true;

This documentary contains no material which could result in tort claims, royalty claims, claims for breach of contract, or claims of any sort whatsoever;

If this documentary is selected for screening at Big Sky, I grant Big Sky the right to screen this film in Missoula, Montana, February 2016;

I understand and agree that this film entry, if selected for the Festival, may be used for promotional purposes for the Festival, Big Sky and/or its partners and I grant Big Sky and its partners the rights to use up to one minute of footage, photographic stills and/or titles and information from the film for promotional purposes;

I fully indemnify and hold Big Sky and its partners harmless from: a) damage to or loss of the film print or videotapes en route to or from Big Sky or during the course of Big Sky's possession of the entry; and b) from an claims which may arise in connection with this documentary film. If a claim arises in connection with this film, I will bear all the costs of defense incurred by Big Sky and pay any award of damages which may ensue. I also agree to reimburse Big Sky for any attorney fees incurred in connection with the defense of such a claim.

I understand that Big Sky Documentary Film Festival reserves the right to place my film in the appropriate programming category and chose final competition films.

By signing below, I am indicating that I understand, comply with and agree to the Terms of Entry and the eligibility requirements.