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And the winners are!

Once again thanks to all of the talented filmmakers who submitted their films this year. Here are the prize winners for BIFF 2018. Congratulations one and all!

                                             Audience Choice - Feature                       Walking Bear Comes Home - Frank Tyro

                                             Audience Choice - Short                           A Public Execution - David Vale

                                             Audience Choice - Animated                    And We Were Young - Andy Smetanka

                                             Audience Choice - Student                       Voices of Fire - Hugo Sindelar


                                             First Place - Feature                                   Little Star - Tamie Rawlings

                                             First Place - Short                                       Rainmaker - Katherine Cronyn

                                             First Place - Animated                                Dirk Champagne - Ken Grinde

                                             First Place - Student                                   Switch - Colton Tash


                                             Second Place - Feature                              Subterranea - Mathew Miller

                                             Second Place - Short                                  Running Eagle - Konrad Fiedler

                                             Second Place - Animated                           And We Were Young - Andy Smetanka

                                             Second Place - Student                              Voices of Fire - Hugo Sindelar


Free Friday Movies

For this year's BIFF we've decided to shake things up. On Friday, April 6 between noon and 3:30 pm anyone can come down to the theater and watch some indie films for free. It's a way to stop by and learn what an indie film festival is all about. it's also our way to give back to the community. If you have never attended a film festival, but were always a little curious, here's your chance to see how they work. Hopefully you will enjoy the experience enough to purchase another film block to see other films we are showing.

Guest Speakers

Besides the usual filmmaker Q&A sessions we have also arranged two guest speakers to talk to us and answer your questions.

Bill Butler is an Emmy-winning cinematographer who was the DP on One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s NestJaws, Rocky II, III and IV and many other movies and TV shows. On Friday as part of Film Block 1 Bill is going to talk about how he got into the business, as well as some of his triumphs and challenges over his very long and very successful career.

Gerald (Jerry) R. Molen is an Oscar-winning producer of Schindler’s ListJurassic ParkRain ManMinority Report and many other breakout movies… and BTW, Jerry is still making films today. On Saturday as part of Film Block 4 he is going to talk about how he became a producer and what advice he would give to filmmakers trying to break into the business.

Don't miss this rare opportunity to hobnob with these two true Hollywood legends.

Film Blocks

For the 2nd Annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival we're showing a variety of short, feature, animated and student films that were made in Montana over 2 amazing days at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts. These films were submitted by filmmakers who either wrote, directed or produced them, and sometimes did all three. The films are divided into 6 film blocks, each block is between 2 and 3 hours long. Make sure you purchase the correct ticket for the particular block you want to attend.

A live introduction will be provided and filmmakers will be included in a Q&A session at the end of the block. Audience members are encouraged to ask questions and to directly interact with the filmmakers. The filmmakers want to know what people honestly think about their films.

For blocks 2 & 5 we are showing two first run feature films released in 2017 and made in Montana. The two films are The Ballad of Lefty Brown - a Western/Drama staring Bill Pullman and Peter Fonda, and Walking Out - an Action/Adventure starring Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins and Bill Pullman. If you haven't seen these films on the big screen don't miss this rare chance to see them in Bigfork. 

Below is a high level view of the 6 film blocks this year:

  • Block 0 - "Free Taste" is being offered FREE TO THE PUBLIC. Anyone can come by the theater between noon and 3:30 pm on Friday and enjoy some free movies. Block 0 contains 3 films (1 short, 1 feature and 1 animated film)
  • Block 1 - "Mixed Genre" runs from 4 pm to 7:30 pm on Friday and contains 8 films (1 animated, 6 shorts and 1 student film) and has a scheduled intermission.
  • Block 2 - "Western/Drama" runs from 8 pm to 10 pm on Friday and contains 1 released film (The Ballad of Lefty Brown)
  • Block 3 - "Mixed Genre" runs from noon to 3:30 pm on Saturday and contains 4 films (3 student and 1 feature film) and has a scheduled intermission
  • Block 4 - "Mixed Genre" runs from 4 pm to 7:30 pm on Saturday and contains 5 films (1 feature and 4 short films) and has a scheduled intermission
  • Block 5 - "Action/Adventure" runs from 8 pm to 10 pm on Saturday and contains 1 released film (Walking Out)

To learn more about the films click here or click on "The Indie Films" link in the upper Left navigation area

2 Released Montana Films

While most of the festival films are unreleased and many have never been exhibited before, as a special bonus we are showing two released films that were made in Montana and released last year. The Ballad of Lefty Brown starring Bill Pullman, Peter Fonda and Kathy Baker is a classic western that was shot around Livingston and in Bannack State Park. Walking Out starring Matt Bomer, Josh Wiggins and Bill Pullman is a contemporary story about a father and his estranged son who go on a hunting trip and experience challenges and was shot in and around Bozeman. While both of these films spent a short time in the theaters, many people never got a chance to see them. if you haven't seen them, or haven't seen them on the big screen, here's your chance!

  The Ballad of Lefty Brown, Film Block 2, Friday, 8:05 PM                    Walking Out, Film Block 5, Saturday, 8:05 PM    

To purchase tickets click Here or click on the "Purchase Indie Tickets" link in the upper Left navigation area


Festival Pricing

Our goal is to keep ticket prices low in order to allow as many movie lovers to attend as possible. Tickets are available here or at the venue during festival hours.

block tickets (all films in a single block) - ADULTS $7.00, Seniors (65 and older)/Children (12 and under) $5.00

VIP All access pass (all Festival films) - adults $21.00, Seniors (65 and older)/Children (12 &under) $17.00



Festival Showtimes

Friday, April 6th

BlocK 0 (Free Taste) - The Walk (12:10) - Walking bear comes home (12:34) - and we were young (1:31) - q&a sESSION (2:46)

BlocK 1 (mIXED GENRE) - Dirk Champagne (4:10)- The Survivors (4:35) - switch (4:55) - OIL AND WATER DON'T mix (5:07) - INTERMISSION (5:13)COMMON GROUND (5:23) - A PUBLIC EXECUTION (5:37) - iT'S NOT ME, IT'S YOU (6:09) - RAINMAKER (6:19) q&a sESSION (6:38)

BLOCK 2 (WESTERN/drama) - The bALLAd of lefty brown (8:05) Rated 'R', Starring Bill pullman, Peter Fonda and kathy baker


Saturday, April 7th

BLOCK 3 (miXED gENRE) - ONLY LONELY (12:10) - SAFE WORD (12:19) - VOICES OF FIRE (12:28) - intermission (12:53) - SUBTERRANEA (1:03) - q&a sESSIOn (2:42)

BLOCK 4 (MIXED GENRE) -  LITTLE STAR (4:10) - INTERMISSION (5:36) - GETTING ON BY GETTING BY (5:46) - ARC American (5:52) - DRIVE THEM BUFFALO (6:03) - RUNNING eAGLE (6:21) q&a sESSION (6:34)

BLOCK 5 (ADVENTURE/DRAMA) - Walking Out (8:05) Rated 'Pg-13'Starring Matt Bomer, Josh wiggins and Bill Pullman                    


The Mission

The mission of the Bigfork Independent (aka Indie) Film Festival is to support the film community in Montana. Despite small budgets and hectic schedules, Montana filmmakers work together to put their vision on the screen. Hardly comparable to Hollywood’s blockbusters, these films embody a lot more than big effects or spectacle. They embody the passion of the crews who created them, and we think that’s worth celebrating. Ultimately a film’s purpose is to be watched and enjoyed. Our mission is to create a place where Montana films can do just that.

The Vision

The Bigfork Indie Film Festival may never become as big as Sundance, but we do plan to make our mark as a place for cinephiles to celebrate the arts. Don’t be fooled by the idea of local. We’re proud to offer quality entertainment. This year we will be showing feature, short, animation and student films broken up into separate blocks. Choose the block that most interests you, buy your ticket, maybe a snack and soda as well, and enjoy the experience of watching films as they were meant to be seen.

Many of these films have not been shown publicly which means this is an international premiere event for them! Come support the Montana film community and see what they have to offer. We think you’ll be impressed!

Why Attend Film Festivals?

At first blush it seems obvious why a filmmaker would want to attend a film festival. If your film is selected you might win an award, or you may have a chance to participate in a live Q&A session, or you might get a distribution deal, and you can network with other filmmakers while enjoying the experience of seeing an audience watch your movie. But if you’re not a filmmaker why attend?

For your average film festival attendees it’s a chance to experience something unique and memorable, and to become intimately involved with the filmmaking process. In case you didn’t know there are over 3,000 film festivals worldwide, and 2,100 of them are in the US alone. You may have heard of the Sundance, SXSW and Telluride film festivals, just to name three of the bigger ones. At these festivals, some which run for almost two weeks, big production films, often with big name stars, are exhibited and thousands of people attend.

Festivals like these play an important role in the film sales and marketing process; they provide a way for people who make films to interact with people who buy films. These distributors watch a variety of films and then go after the ones they want to take on. For example, companies like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu need a steady supply of content to keep their customers happy. Even though they are making a lot of their own movies, which is much more profitable for them, they are also buying movies from independent filmmakers.

If your film is selected Sundance, out of the 13,000 that are submitted each year, there’s a good chance a distributor will want to buy it. But what if you make relatively low-budget films that are rarely selected by a major festival? What hope is there for you?

That’s where the boutique and regional film festivals come in. They provide a place for filmmakers of smaller films to show their work and perhaps even win an award. These filmmakers make movies because they are driven to make a great film. It’s a tough way to make a living, but at least they can get some recognition and that’s where the audience comes in.

In order for a film festival to survive there has to be an audience that appreciates the work that goes into making a film. Even a 6-minute short can take dozens of hours to conceive and many months to produce. Usually these filmmakers have day jobs and do most of the work themselves to keep their costs down. For most of them t’s a labor of love.

These smaller film festivals provide an opportunity for filmmakers to have their movie seen by an audience. The audience in turn gets a chance to see movies they would otherwise never have a chance to see. It’s a true win-win, and it provides a tangible way for the public to support independent filmmakers.

You may not love every film you see at a festival, but I bet there will be one or two that will speak to you, and that’s reason enough to attend your local independent film festival.

Don't miss out!


Steve Shapero, Director

Bigfork Film Festivals


Rules and Terms

The Bigfork Independent Film Festival (BIFF) is hereby granted the right to utilize an excerpt from any film submitted and accepted for exhibition at the Festival for promotional purposes. The individual or corporation submitting the film hereby warrants that it is authorized to commit the film for screening, and understands and accepts these requirements and regulations. 

The applicant shall indemnify and hold harmless Bigfork Community Players, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and BIFF from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, publicity, screening, and loss of or damage to the screening videos entered.