The nonprofit Big Sky Film Institute has announced the full lineup of official selections for its 19th annual Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. A hybrid exhibition in 2022, the festival will screen films in-person February 18-27 in theaters across downtown Missoula, Montana in addition to online screenings February 21 through March 3 in Big Sky’s virtual cinema.
The film lineup includes 50 features and 95 short documentary films including 50 world premieres and 21 North American premieres. More than 90 percent of the annual Big Sky program is selected from the festival's open call, which drew more than 2,000 submissions from 84 nations in 2022. Reflecting a remarkable moment in human history, the films embrace stories of survival, personal strength, volatile environments, relationships with nature, lessons in resilience, Indigenous voices, and the existential power of art.
In addition to open call selections, BSDFF will present a special program featuring the Nia Tero Reciprocity Project, a short film series and multimedia platform made in partnership with Indigenous storytellers. The lineup also includes short films made by student filmmakers in the Montana State University MFA in Science & Natural History Filmmaking.
In addition to screenings, BSDFF will host the Big Sky DocShop February 21-25, a five-day filmmaker’s forum that includes workshops, panels and filmmaker roundtables, culminating with the Big Sky Pitch for works-in-progress. The 2022 DocShop conference will focus on themes of Art & Activism in documentary film, an examination of the sentient role of documentary film in a hyper-politicized era. Participants include representatives from Breakwater Studios, FilmAid, Nia Tero, Field of Vision, Nation of Artists, Distribution Advocates, SFFilm, ABC News and many independent documentary filmmakers.
Big Sky’s dedication to elevating Indigenous stories through the Native Filmmaker Initiative continues in 2022, featuring a strand of Indigenous-directed documentary films and welcoming six Indigenous filmmakers as fellows in the Fourth World Media Lab experience.
This year the NFI presents a Native Voices Speaker Series, screenings and panel events exploring and reflecting on stories that highlight Indigenous voices as central to a quest for a more just, inclusive, and sustainable society.
Passes are on sale now for the in-person and virtual festival. Tickets to individual events go on sale January 31.
For more information on the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and a complete list of films and festival events visit bigskyfilmfest.org.