The Big Sky Film Institute is a leading arts and education non-profit dedicated to the transformative power of documentary film. Our work empowers a diverse range of filmmakers, promotes media literacy for all ages and presents global perspectives that inspire our engaged communities.
Rooted in the heart of the mountain west, the BSFI nurtures and elevates nonfiction films that have the power to transform our world, our culture, our youth, and ourselves. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, major programs of the institute include the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, the Native Filmmaker Initiative, Filmmakers in the Schools, the Big Sky Documentary Youth Fellowship, the Teen Doc Intensive and the DocShop media industry conference and filmmaker's forum.
For 20 years BSFI has been showcasing global stories to a growing regional, national and international audience. Beginning in 2004 as a modest, local arts event in Missoula, MT, the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival (BSDFF) has grown to become a prolific 10-day event and established itself as Montana’s premier cinema event and the largest documentary film festival in the American West. Hundreds of filmmakers, industry professionals, and nearly 20,000 highly engaged filmgoers attend screenings, live events, educational programs and film industry forums. An Academy Award-qualifying event, BSDFF brings stories from around the world to our beautiful mountain town, creates a vibrant, quality event that gathers our engaged community, and expands the knowledge and conversation around issues that matter. Over two decades the institute has broadened its programs to include a year-round film series, the 5-day DocShop filmmaker’s forum and industry conference, youth education programs including fellowship and mentor programs, and the Native Filmmaker Initiative for aspiring Native youth filmmakers and emerging Indigenous artist professionals. BSFI continues to nurture and elevate the medium of documentary film, its consumers and its creators, to inspire, educate and connect communities through media literacy and storytelling.