Submissions for the 2019 festival have closed.

Submissions for the 2020 festival will open in May.

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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 January 7, 2019 at the latest regarding the status of your film.

Does Big Sky Film Festival require premieres?
With very 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 Documentary (over 40 minutes), Best Short Documentary (15-39 minutes), Best MiniDoc (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 mid January 2018.  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 in February 2018.  

Does Big Sky qualify my film to compete for an Oscar? 
The winning films of both the Best Documentary Short and Best MiniDoc 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 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 January 20, 2019 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 chose 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 or, 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.

What Kind of Films Do You Show?
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is an exclusively documentary film festival. 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 WAB or Film Freeway 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 submissions we are unable to provide feedback on your submission.

When and Where Is the Festival?
February 15-24, 2019 at multiple theaters and venues in downtown Missoula, Montana.