Friday, February 17, 2017

Five more things to do at the Big Sky Doc Fest

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 3:32 PM

click to enlarge Being Evel
  • Being Evel
As if we didn't already give you enough to do.

1. It was a blow to fans everywhere when Carrie Fisher died in late December, and even more heartbreaking when her mom, Debbie Reynolds, died the next day. Strangely enough, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival had planned to show the HBO film Bright Lights—an intimate portrait of the  pair—to open the festival. Bright Lights uses vintage family film and recent interviews to tell the story of the mother-daughter legacy in a way that seems more poignant now than ever.
Tonight, Fri., Feb. 17, at the Wilma, at 7 PM. Free.

2. You barely need to be a conscious human being to know that podcasts are blowing up everywhere. If you're like me, you've got dozens of subscriptions loaded on your phone, including everything from RadioLab and 2 Dope Queens to Missoula-based Last Best Stories, which features slice-of-life tales about Montana people and critters. This year at BSDFF, podcasts get their due as genre of documentary storytelling. Jule Banville, UM School of Journalism professor and producer of Last Best Stories, has set up a listening lounge at Montgomery Distillery to showcase several audio shorts. You can sip an artisan cocktail and plug in to hear stories about, among other things, a bear encounter, a river trip gone wrong, a surprise brunch with David Bowie, and a woman who inherited a small Montana town but doesn't want it.
At Montgomery Distillery Sat., Feb. 18, through Sat., Feb. 25, from 3 PM to 6 PM. Sponsored by UM's School of Journalism and Last Best Stories.

3. In this week's coverage of the festival we wrote about EyeSteelFilm, a Canadian film collective that often deals in experimental works, 17 of which will be showcased as part of a retrospective at this year's festival. Another retrospective will focus on Daniel Junge, an Oscar and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker whose 2015 film, Being Evel, explores the life of Butte-born stunt motorcyclist Evel Knievel. The festival will show 10 of Junge's films including Saving Face, about acid attacks on women in Pakistan, and They Killed Sister Dorothy, about a nun from Ohio killed in the Brazilian rainforest.
Being Evel screens at the Roxy Sat., Feb. 18, at 3 PM.

4. If you're a filmmaker or a film geek, you might be interested in Big Sky Pitch, an open-to-the-public event  where you can watch filmmakers pitch documentary ideas and in-progress films to a panel of producers from ESPN Films, Film Independent, ITVS, Tribeca Film Institute and New York Times Video. Ten projects have been accepted and will each get 20 minutes to dazzle the panel in the hopes of getting funding.
At the UC Theatre Thu., Feb. 23, starting at 9 AM. Free.

5. Viewing films is the most obvious part of the Big Sky Doc Fest, but for aspiring and professional filmmakers it's also an opportunity to network and learn. Doc Shops is a set of workshops on documentary journalism, branding, crowd-funding, technology and distribution. There's even a Filmmaking 101 workshop for those just dipping their toes in. These classes are hosted by companies and organizations from all over, including The Audience Awards, Epic Montana and The Atlantic. The cost is $150, but the workshops are free to UM and MSU students.

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