Big Water has been drawing filmmakers and filmgoers to the shore of Lake Superior for over a decade. With our opening night gala reception held at the bar across the street from the theater, our Saturday morning filmmaker discussion (Cinema and Cinnamon Rolls), and our friendly vibe and enthusiastic audiences, we have come to be good friends with a number of filmmakers who come back year after year (whether or not they have a new film to show), and we look forward to making new friends every year. 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
  • 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
  • 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!

  • Pierre GAFFIÉ

    A quite splendid festival. The team (organisation, etc...) is very affable, pleasant, clever, professional and welcoming. I think the films' selection is quite free spirit and honest. It's a festival for everyone, from 20 to 80... And of course the location is quite nice...

    June 2019