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Discover Independent

film in Montana

BIFF 2019.jpg


The 2019 BIFF Early Submissions Open August 15th!



Changes for 2019

For the 3rd Annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival, being held April 5-7, 2019, we will be showing a variety of short, feature, documentary and student films that were either made by Montana filmmakers, or were made in Montana, once again at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts.  Note that animated films are still allowed and encouraged, but they won't have their own category. Instead we are breaking out documentary films as a separate category. Just as last year the selected films will be divided into film blocks, each block will be between 2 and 3 hours long. For 2019 we're also planning a filmmaker's workshop as part of the festival, as well as an awards ceremony.

For each block 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.


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 $10.00, Seniors (65 and older)/Children (12 and under) $5.00

All access pass (all Festival films) - adults $30.00, Seniors (65 and older)/Children (12 &under) $25.00



Festival Showtimes

To Be Announced


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.