The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is the premier venue for non-fiction film in the American West. Big Sky offers an ideal setting for filmmakers to premiere new work and develop lasting relationships with fellow filmmakers and industry. The festival draws an audience of 20,000 and film entries from every corner of the globe to a uniquely intimate mountain town setting with a local Montana flavor.

The 16th annual festival takes place February 15-24, 2019 in downtown Missoula, Montana.


The festival hosts over 200 visiting artists, presents an average of 150 non-fiction films, and offers a variety of exciting events at the historic theater The Wilma, the Hellgate Elks Lodge, the MCT Center for the Performing Arts. 

In addition to screenings, the Big Sky DocShop is a five-day industry event that includes panels, master classes, workshops, and the Big Sky Pitch session. DocShop’s participants have included: HBO Documentary Films, Showtime Documentary Films, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Doc Fund, New York Times Video, ESPN Films, Participant Media, BBC Storyville, CNN Films, ITVS, POV, PBS, The Film Collaborative, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Seed & Spark, Film Independent, The Fledgling Fund and Catapult Film Fund. Big Sky is an Academy Award qualifying festival in the SHORTS and MINI DOC categories.

Special retrospective programs have included the films of: Barbara Kopple, The Maysles Brothers, Frederick Wiseman, Joe Berlinger, Lucy Walker, Ondi Timoner, Doug Pray, Daniel Junge, Chuck Workman, Sam Green, John Cohen, EyeSteelFilm, Kartemquin Films, and Les Blank. Special guests have included Indy Rock legends Yo La Tengo, Comedian Tig Notaro, Steve James (Hoop Dreams), Les Blank (Burden of Dreams), Greg Barker (Sergio), Joe Berlinger (Crude), Ron Mann (Grass), Brendan Canty & Christoph Green (the Burn To Shine series), Chuck Workman (The Life & Times of Andy Warhol), and Hart & Dana Heinz Perry (Sex: The Revolution).

Recent Award winners at the festival have included: Cradle of Champions (Bartle Bull), The Last of the Elephant Men (Daniel Ferguson, Arnaud Bouquet), Siblings are Forever (Frode Fimland), A World Not Ours (Mahdi Fleifel), This Way Of Life (Thomas Burstyn), Steam of Life (Joonas Berghäll & Mika Hotakainen), Blood Brother (Steve Hoover), Chasing Ice (Jeff Orlowski), Last Train Home (Lixin Fan), Sweetgrass (Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor), Gasland (Josh Fox), Rough Aunties (Kim Longinotto), Ashes of American Flags (Brendan Canty & Christoph Green), In A Dream (Jeremiah Zagar), and Bronx Princess (Yoni Brook & Musa Syeed). Find the complete list of Award winners here.

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View the 2018 Wrap Report for sights, sounds and inspiration from the latest BSDFF.