BWFF 2020 is Cancelled. With regret, the Big Water Committee has decided that we will not be able to tell soon enough if we will be able to protect our patrons', volunteers', and filmmakers' health adequately to allow us in good conscience to proceed with the 13th Big Water Film Festival. So, much like a hotel elevator, we are going to go right past 13 and look forward to 14-- which will be held November 3-6, 2021.

All films that are submitted for 2020 will be rolled over for consideration for inclusion in the 2021 festival. The Committee will continue to screen films, and we invite filmmakers to continue to submit them.

FilmFreeway software apparently does not allow us to schedule an event more than 18 months out, so for the moment we are keeping all the dates that we have already inserted for our Festival this year, and we will change them later in the year. IF YOU ARE SUBMITTING A FILM AFTER JULY 15, 2020, AND BEFORE WE HAVE CHANGED THE DATES ON THIS SITE PLEASE USE OUR DEADLINE WAIVER CODE, "nextyear."

Stay safe and healthy! We look forward to seeing your films.

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The Big Water Film Festival is held in Ashland, Wisconsin at the Bay Theater, with events in nearby Washburn, Bayfield and Drummond. Films of all genres are welcome!

BWFF values your work and devotes a fair amount of its budget to awards. The Big Water Film Festival awards the following prizes: Best Feature, Best Short, Best Short-Short, Best Documentary, Audience Favorite, and the Loren Savitsky Young Filmmaker Award. Each award comes with a certificate, a beautiful hand-made award bowl, and $150.

IF YOU WISH TO BE CONSIDERED FOR THE LOREN SAVITSKY YOUNG FILMMAKER AWARD, PLEASE INCLUDE A COVER LETTER WITH YOUR DATE OF BIRTH. A FILMMAKER MUST BE 25 YEARS OLD OR UNDER ON THE OPENING DATE OF THE FESTIVAL TO QUALIFY.

1. We do not stream films at the Festival. Accepted films will have to send us a hard copy (DVD, Blu-Ray, or DCP) for festival screening. Some exceptions can be made where international shipping would be difficult, and where a downloadable link can be provided. We want to show your film under the best possible conditions, which is why we do not want to run the risk of interruptions due to internet problems.
2. The entrant certifies to the Festival that he/she/it has the right to submit the film and all visual or sound elements contained in the film, to the Festival, and to consent to the public showing of the film, and will defend and hold harmless the Festival, its committee members, and sponsors for any costs or damages associated with any copyright or other intellectual property or other claim (such as but not limited to libel, slander, or invasion of privacy) associated with the film or its submittal.
3. The entrant grants to the Festival the right to use the film, any trailer(s), still photos, publicity materials, and information about the cast and crew to promote the Festival.
4. If the film is accepted, entrant grants to the Festival the right to show the film at the 2020 Festival. The Festival will not be obligated to withdraw the film from the Festival unless entrant provides notice to the Festival of the film's withdrawal before October 10, 2020.

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • Justin + Kristin Schaack

    Thank you so much to the staff and volunteers at Big Water Film Festival. The hospitality, screening venue, and location in Ashland were all a delight! Thank you so much for supporting filmmakers.

    December 2019
    Bigwaterfilmlogo
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Justin and Kristin. We love your films and hope you come back soon.

  • KARE 11

    Wonderful festival in beautiful lakeside town put on by people who adore film. Plus, the awards were pottery plates, how cool is that? Thank so much for having us out and for all your do to support independent filmmakers.

    November 2019
    Bigwaterfilmlogo
    Response from festival:

    What a great film you shared with us. Thanks for coming.

  • I can't thank Tish, Claire, and the rest of the staff for making us part of this year's festival. The communications and support were amazing. We will definitely keep this festival on our radar for any future projects we have!

    November 2019
    Bigwaterfilmlogo
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Pat. We loved "Tin Can."

  • Thank you, Big Water Film Festival, for selecting my film, FROM SEED TO SEED, and for the generous award of Best Documentary. I wish I could have attended the festival to enjoy the quality programming in your beautiful community. The communications were excellent and very friendly. I highly recommend this festival to filmmakers and audiences alike.

    November 2019
    Bigwaterfilmlogo
    Response from festival:

    Katharina, we were so happy to be able to show your film. Next time, you’ll have to come visit us!

  • Randy Slagle

    Great festival and friendly hosts and crowd. Lots of questions about my film and it was fun interacting with the audience. Highly recommend the festival to others!

    November 2019
    Bigwaterfilmlogo
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Randy. We were so happy that you were part of the festival! We hope to see more of you and your work in the coming years!