The Big Sky Works-in-Progress Pitch is the headline event of DocShop Filmmaker’s Forum held during the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. This is an exceptional opportunity to pitch your feature length documentary work-in-progress to some of the top funders and commissioning editors for documentary film. All documentary forms and subjects are eligible to submit. The session will be held Friday, February 23rd 2024 in Missoula, Montana with a live audience of filmmakers and industry representatives. A maximum of 10 projects will be accepted to pitch in this session. Selected projects will have 20 minutes on "stage" (10 minutes to pitch, 10 minutes of feedback) to pitch their project and hear suggestions and critique from the panel of funders.

***Please note: If selected, you must be able to attend the Big Sky Pitch in person.***

Our Big Sky Pitch program includes one-on-one pitch training before the official pitch. This is a wonderful opportunity to refine your pitch and connect with those who will help you take your next steps forward. Selected projects will receive an All-Access pass to Big Sky Documentary Film Festival and DocShop, and will be notified of their acceptance by January 5, 2024.

Only documentary feature length works-in-progress are eligible to apply. Documentaries may be in any phase of development, production, or post production, but must be in need of funding. Submissions must have a visual sample that represents their story.

Past Big Sky Pitch jury members included: HBO Documentary Films, Ford Foundation, The Redford Foundation, Participant Media, AmDoc, BBC Storyville, CNN Films, ITVS, POV, PBS, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Documentary Fund, Bright West Entertainment, Chicken & Egg Pictures, Fork Films, Tribeca Film Institute, The Fledgling Fund, Catapult Film Fund, ESPN Films, Film Independent, ITVS, WIF, New York Times Video, IDA, Vimeo, Magnolia Pictures, Gravitas Ventures, Field of Vision, Nia Tero, Al Jazeera, Cinetic and TIME Studios.

Visit the link below to view a list of Big Sky Pitch alumni projects and participants:

Projects should be considered independent work in need of additional funding to complete.

Pitch projects should be feature documentary projects in late pre-production, production or post-production.

Projects with existing distribution deals are not eligible for submission.

Pitch submissions must include:

A 5-minute (or less) video sample of the work-in-progress - sizzle, trailer, or scene(s).*

A brief project summary and synopsis. This summary should concisely describe the focus of the film, the intended length, shooting format, and any other relevant technical details.

A one-paragraph status report, including stage of production, production credits, and any current partners and funding sources and amounts.

Total production budget and secured funding to date.

A brief resume and filmography from the director or producer of the film.

*A short (5 minutes maximum) sample of the work-in-progress must be submitted in addition to the written application. Links to rough cuts (if applicable) may also be included in the written section of your submission in addition to your 5-minute (or less) sample.

Note: You must create a FilmFreeway project profile to submit. When you click "submit now" select your project page, and the questions above will appear for you to fill in your answers.

Overall Rating
  • Tommy Franklin

    Excellent, excellent, excellent experience! Hardworking host and coaches in Alana and Kristi. I was a fan before I had the honor of being a Pitch participant, and I highly recommend filmmakers with an amazing important story they want to tell to apply. Nothing but love for my cohort, too! Filmmaker-friendly, and that's almost all that matters. Also walkable as it gets, no stress!

    March 2023
  • One of the best festivals there is. Zero pretentiousness. Just real, organic, USDA-certified documentary filmmaking, collaborating, questioning, critical thinking, and celebration of the stories we are here to tell.

    March 2023
  • What separates Big Sky pitch from all other pitch fests is its warmth. There is this inescapable energy of support and best laid desires for each project to succeed that the collegiality is undeniable. The 2022 “return to semi-normal” cohort was the best cohort ever! So beautiful and authentic. I wish I could return to Big Sky pitch every year but alas, it is a small cohort. Even though it is a program full of heart and honesty.

    March 2022
  • Despite being virtual this year due to the pandemic, we felt very supported and part of a nurturing community while preparing and pitching our film!

    March 2021
  • AB Troen

    Our team participated in the 2021 pitch at Big Sky.
    This was an excellent opportunity to refine the pitch, receive valuable feedback, and present it to representatives of the leading institutions in the documentary industry.
    The Big Sky team was amazing. Even though the pitch was virtual -- they created a sense of community that brought us filmmakers together in spite of the distance.
    The pitch made a tangible difference to our project and we hope to share the film at the Big Sky Festival in person in the future!!

    March 2021