"It was a dream come true to premiere our film at Big Sky. They went out of their way to promote our film in a way that felt custom-made for it. We were selected as the Centerpiece of the festival and they gave us two in-person screenings in beautiful and intimate venues that allowed for engaging interactions with our audience. The workshops and panels are invaluable occasions to learn and exchange with other filmmakers, industry representatives, and the public."
- Olivier Matthon, Director UP ON THE MOUNTAIN (Big Sky 2022)
"There is no festival like Big Sky.
All that attend pine to return. I brought my first short film in 2018 and this year had the privilege to bring my first feature, "Tell Them We Were Here". The atmosphere cultivated in Missoula allows for a specific kind of community building that frankly just doesn't happen at other film festivals. There is something about Big Sky that removes the harmful exhaust put out by much of Hollywood and the industry at large. Must be that Montana air."
- Keelan Williams, Director TELL THEM WE WERE HERE (Big Sky 2022)
"BSDFF is run by a highly professional team, devoted to quality, extremey well organized, prepared for all scenarios, motivated, inspiring and helpful, nice to talk to and communicative. The programme was really splendid this year. In general I rarely meet such kind people in the industry. This experience enabled me to go on with my film but also taught me a lot as a filmmaker. It changed the life of my film eventually. Do not hestitate to make friends with The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. It's worth it."
- Rafał Małecki, Director RUST (Big Sky 2021)
"Our filmmaking team was thrilled our world premiere was at Big Sky 2021. Of course we would have preferred being in Missoula, but the festival's virtual strategies made us feel as though we were. Big Sky is an unpretentious yet carefully curated event led by cineastes deeply engaged in the nonfiction form. I saw some extraordinary films and hope to return in person one day!"
- James Rutenbeck, Director A RECKONING IN BOSTON (Big Sky 2021)
"Big Sky is one of the more special festival experiences a documentary filmmaker can have -- the whole program is so thoughtfully crafted, from the curation of rolling retrospectives alongside new films, to the industry track that runs alongside the screenings. It's clear that the Missoula, Montana community is one of those very special ones -- everything seemed so well thought through and executed."
- Christy McGill, Director AI WEIWEI: YOURS TRULY (Big Sky 2020)
"On February 13th, our crew boarded flights from New York, Portland and Paris -- all destined for Missoula, Montana. We were excited to reunite for the first time since filming "Collette: in Spring 2019, and to finally share a story that had been nearly two years in the making, and felt ever more relevant today. We took lots of pictures together, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and beneath Big Sky Film Festival signs...However, there was something that all the photos we couldn't capture: it was all the little moments in between. We ran into the festival staff in coffee shops and parties who recognized us and were already familiar with our film. We talked with fellow filmmakers in between screenings and discussed the overlapping themes in our stories. Audience members approached us in restaurants filled with curiosity and quesitons. The size of this festival made it truly special. Tucked inside this small town we found a genuine and supportive documentary film community eager to gather around and share stories of real people."
- Anthony Giacchino, Director COLLETTE (Big Sky 2020)
"Amazing festival, one of the most hospitable I've ever been to, such good programming and people all around. Filmmakers show up and there are so many ways to connect and have a great time. Highly recommended for any and every doc filmmaker."
- Sam Price-Waldman, Director OSAMA AND AYMAN (Big Sky 2019)
"The 2019 festival was top notch and marked my first return to Missoula in over 40 years and it was a gas. The staff, venues and projection systems were all terrific, Missoula is an easy walking town, no cars needed here, with real Montana bars, cool record stores and a hipster vibe that defies what hipster vibe is. If you like to drink in the afternoon, watch movies all night and eat breakfast at 3am this is the festival for you. Bundle up!"
- Kirk LeClaire, Director "...so good i can't take it" (Big Sky 2019)
"Since Man On Bike screened in Missoula, we have been bombarded by emails from other programmers, PR agencies, distributors: all thanks to Big Sky. It's an honour for us"
- Matteo Palmas, Director MAN ON BIKE (Big Sky 2018)
"BSDFF provided a powerful platform for our film to reach audiences, including the local native population, which was important for our team as indigenous filmmakers. We can't thank the staff enough for the care with which they approached our screening, especially as first time creators. I am already working on our next film that I to bring to the festival!"
- Ciara Lacy, Director OUT OF STATE (Big Sky 2018)
"Awesome. Big Sky is a great place to meet filmmakers and industry in a laid back setting, while watching stellar films in a super town."
- Brian Newman, Sub-Genre (DocShop 2018)
"Big Sky was an incredible experience. I left feeling inspired and was humbled to be a part of such a passionate group of filmmakers. Big Sky's focus on community was on display in every aspect of the festival and I look forward to future collaborations with people I met there. A must for documentary filmmakers."
- Jason Jacks, Big Sky Pitch participant (Big Sky 2017)
"There is no other festival like Big Sky. It has been an incredibly supportive and inspiring element of my life as a documentary filmmaker. I have connected with so many other great filmmakers I still regularly talk to and get feedback from. The setting is breathtaking but is made really special by the way the BSDFF makes use of it with unique parties, events, and community partnered screenings. It has the pedigree to bring the best films and filmmakers from the doc world but also has stayed intimate enough to actually have a chance to interact with those films and filmmakers."
- Brandon Vedder, Director A CERTAIN KIND OF LIGHT (Big Sky 2016/2013)
"Big Sky is the most supportive festival I have ever been to. It isn't just about filmmakers promoting their own films. It's about filmmakers going to other films and everyone supporting each other. It was, hands downs, the best film festival I have ever been to."
- Samantha Farinella , Director HUNTING IN WARTIME (Big Sky 2016)
“At the risk of sounding fanatical, I walked away from the experience feeling emboldened because of the awesomeness of the people I met and their support.”
- Rebbie Ratner, Director BORDERLINE (Big Sky 2016)
“I have had the honor and pleasure of premiering two of my films at Big Sky. The experience both times was so easy going, friendly, and welcoming. The screenings were packed no matter what the venue. The parties were wonderful and a great place to meet other filmmakers. I can’t say enough about the special attention from both staff and volunteers. If I have a chance to premiere there again, I will happily grab it!”
- Amy Nicholson, Director PICKLE (Big Sky 2016)
"What could be better than ten days of the best documentaries you’ll see all year at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. You’ll want to set aside time to attend this festival for sure, and maybe even budget in a few extras days for vacation. Carefully curated documentaries, late-night bonfires… and one of the coolest little towns in all of America"
- Darcy Dennett, Director THE CHAMPIONS (Big Sky 2016)
“Big Sky is indeed “big” on its eclectic presentation of documentary cinema and “big” on the hospitality shown to visiting filmmakers!”
- Mitchell Egber, Producer THE RECORD MAN (Big Sky 2016)
"The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is an incredibly well curated and really independent festival with a lot of heart."
- Jedd and Todd Wider, Director(s) GOD KNOWS WHERE I AM (Big Sky 2016)
“More often than not I ask myself what I'm doing in this crazy business, but the people and experiences at Big Sky make it all worthwhile and remind me I'm doing exactly what I should be doing.”
- Mina T. Son, Director of TOP SPIN (Big Sky 2015/2012/2011)
"I had such an amazing experience. With some perspective and distance from my festival run with “Now En Español,” Big Sky remains one of my favorite festival. I met so many incredible people. But seriously, from getting to hang out with just documentary filmmakers and knowing everyone was supportive and equally psyched to be there, to seeing Sam Green’s live film performance, to having Ira Kaplan (of Yo La Tengo) accidentally attending a screening of my film because he thought it was a different movie but then staying for it, to the volunteer driver who told me about going to school in Missoula and about life in Montana, to the audience member who showed me her program from the festival and how she marked all the films she wanted to see but had missed so that she could look out for them in the future, Big Sky stands out."
- Andrea Meller, Director of NOW EN ESPANOL (Big Sky 2015)
There’s a warmth to Big Sky Film Festival and Missoula that’s hard to describe. It’s like the whole town is pleased to see you and can’t wait to see your film. I was lucky to attend quite a few festivals with The River Man, but Big Sky was one of the best.
- Richard Gorodecky, Director of THE RIVER MAN (Big Sky 2016)
"Each year, BSDFF does a fantastic job showcasing a variety of inspiring documentaries, which is why HBO has continuously sponsored the festival. Our opening night film premieres are always a sold-out success, and that is, in part, due to BSDFF’s reach within the great community of Missoula. BSDFF has proven their commitment to documentaries and successfully executes a wonderful festival year after year."
- Chelsea Orman, HBO Corporate Affairs & Regional Public Relations
"Being a sponsor was a great opportunity for us. We were able to engage our audience in issues that are relevant to our mission as well as reach a new audience by putting our name in front of a huge cross-section of Missoula. Sponsoring these films gives us so much impact for our money -- plus we get to be part of one of the best events Missoula has to offer."
- Betsy Mulligan-Dague, Executive Director Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
"Real talk. It was a documentary film playing at The Wilma 17 years ago that was the catalyst for me to quit my shitty job and start Betty's. Thank you Big Sky Documentary Film Festival for changing my life's course forever."
- Aimee McQuilkin, Owner Betty's Divine Clothing Store