The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is a very exciting and informative event that attracts film makers from all over the world. This year the festival will be held in Missoula, February 17th through February 26th. It will be held at the Wilma Theater, The ZACC, and the Missoula Community Theater.

The Big Sky Film Institute Educating A New Generation Of Filmmakers

The film festival is put on by the Big Sky Film Institute as they work to educate a new group of students on the art of documentary film making and storytelling. I recently spoke with Julia Sherman, the Director of Education and grants manager for the Big Sky Film Institute, about some of the youth education programs that are offered to students across Montana.

It's really a whole pipeline of programs, and part of it is encouraging media literacy aspect of engaging with media, especially in the non-fiction form. I think a huge thing for us, being in the world of documentary, is that our youth are engaged online more than ever before. I think it's really important for us to step up and be a model for critical engagement.


Native and Indigenous Filmmakers Featured

They offer multiple programs for youth in our state. One of the programs they offer in the fall is a film club that is focused on Native and Indigenous documentaries. Julia went on to say.

We work with the office of public instruction, we invite teachers to watch films that we provide for free with associated curriculum so teachers can incorporate it in the classroom, which is really exciting.

The Next Generation Of Filmmakers Are Learning

Another exciting program they offer is the Big Sky Documentary Youth Fellowship Program. This is a five-month-long, college-level program. They choose a select few high school students to create their own documentaries that will debut at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in February. This is a chance for youth to learn the entire documentary-making process, starting with the idea, to filming, editing, and creating a documentary. Youth not only get to experience everything that goes into making a documentary, but they also get to debut their work at the film festival alongside established filmmakers.

Make plans to attend this year's film festival this upcoming February and help support a new generation of local filmmakers.

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