The official start of Early Bird submissions for BIFF 2020 is August 1, 2019. Submissions will be accepted through February 15, 2020. Note that just as last year, the earlier you submit your film the less it will cost you.

Submitted films MUST BE 51% or greater shot in Montana, OR made by a Montana resident filmmaker. IF YOUR FILM DOESN'T MEET ONE OF THESE TWO CRITERIA PLEASE DON"T SUBMIT IT. If you submit a film that doesn't meet one of these criteria your submission fee may not be refunded.

The goal of the Bigfork Independent Film Festival (BIFF) is to actively support Montana filmmakers and filmmaking. Most importantly we want to honor everyone who is making films today in Montana. Despite small budgets and hectic schedules, these talented artists work hard to put their vision on the screen. Hardly comparable to big Hollywood’s blockbusters, most Montana films embody a lot more than big effects or spectacle. They embody the passions of the producers and directors who create 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.

Last year we expanded the length of the from 2 to 3 days and added a VIP Lounge. We plan to do that again this year. Many people in Montana have never seen a local independent film before, don't know who the directors or producers are, or anything about their movies. BIFF 2019 was a cinematic experience that the audience enjoyed and wanted more of. Based on the success of the 2019 festival we will be showing more indie films and once again providing interactive workshops for both filmmakers and the general public.

For 2020 we've split the Documentary category into two separate groups; Documentary Shorts and Documentary Features. A documentary short, much like a regular short, is 30 minutes in length or less. A documentary feature film is between 31 and 120 minutes.

No matter what category your film is, here's your opportunity to show it on the big screen to a supportive local audience in a comfortable venue. It's also a chance to talk about your film, answer audience questions and maybe win an award for all of your hard work. $1,500 in cash awards are being offered to winning films in all 5 categories, and there are also Audience Choice Awards for all 5 categories.

Note that student films MUST have been made when the filmmaker was attending a school, college, or university.

Your film will be judged by a panel of film enthusiasts and filmmakers. If you are a filmmaker that lives in Montana, or if you've made a film here, submit it for a chance to see it on the big screen, and to perhaps win an award. BIFF IS THE ONLY FILM FESTIVAL THAT FOCUSES EXCLUSIVELY ON MONTANA FILMS AND MONTANA FILMMAKING.

You might not think of Montana as a "hotbed" for movie making, but we've found many talented people making many kinds of films from dramatic shorts to horror features. It's inspiring to see local filmmakers helping each other in a myriad of ways. This makes for a collaborative filmmaking environment. Lots of talented people, working together, to get their projects completed. Don’t be fooled by the idea of 'local'. We’re proud to offer quality entertainment that's made exclusively in Montana.

For BIFF 2020 we will once again be presenting a variety of Feature, Short, Documentary Short, Documentary Feature and Student films bundled into roughly 2-hour blocks. Following each block, filmmakers are invited to participate in a Q&A session to talk about their filmmaking process and to answer audience questions.

First and Second place awards, along with Audience Choice awards, will be announced during BIFF. Award winners will be showcased on the BIFF website and BIFF Facebook page. Screened films receive recognition through the screening schedule. All award winners and official selections receive a digital BIFF laurels file.

4th Annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival April 3, 4 & 5, 2020.

• We encourage the submission of shorts, features, documentary shorts, documentary features, and student films either from Montana filmmakers or films that are 51% or greater made in Montana. Features can be no longer than 120 minutes, shorts no longer than 30 minutes. Waiver requests may be submitted for films not meeting BIFF's film-length restrictions.

• Submissions are preferred as digital files and may be submitted in HD formats. Typically, films are projected in 720P or 1080P. BIFF prefers files for feature-length films be kept to under 50GB. There are compression codecs that permit quality film presentation in limited file sizes. Visit for compression suggestions and guidelines.

• DVD and Blu-ray submissions are also accepted. (2) copies (NTSC); please make sure your disc works on a standalone player. Discs may NOT be copy-protected, because we may rip disc content to create digital files for projection from a hard-drive-based platform. Print your name or the name of the production company (if applicable), movie title, program length, date of production and phone number on your DVD or with permanent marker to identify; do not put a paper label on your DVD.

• Applicants must submit three (3) stills/screenshots from their film to be included in promotional material and the printed screening program (if applicable). BIFF reserves the right to choose from among photos submitted for larger release, or if none are suitable, to find our choice of a screenshot to promote the film in our marketing and print products.

• Applicants are encouraged to send any film promotional materials (i.e. posters, flyers, publicity stills, trailers, and teasers). These promotional materials may be posted on the BIFF website prior to the festival.

• Complete the entry form.

• DVDs will not be returned.

• Entry fees are non-refundable: Either a $30, $35 or $40 submission fee for shorts, features or documentary films, depending on when they are submitted. There is a $20 submission fee for student films.

All submission fees go to Bigfork Film Festivals Inc., a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization registered in the state of Montana, EIN #82-5386690.

• There is no compensation for the showing of your film.

• By default, selected films are adjudicated and eligible for awards.

• In general, only G, PG, and PG-13 approximate-rated films will be reviewed for consideration. Occasional waivers are provided on a film-by-film basis at the festival's discretion. BIFF reserves the right to not show films which in the opinion of the judges are not suitable, are sexually explicit or are abrasively controversial and/or divisive. The judging panel may include representatives of the performing arts, filmmaking, and business communities. All judging is confidential; all decisions are final.

• Applicant must have rightful ownership or permission to all submitted content including music.

• IMPORTANT NOTE: Because it takes a lot of time and effort to schedule, publish programs, otherwise publicize, and deal with all the other logistics of a mounting a film festival, upon notification that your film is an official BIFF selection, you will have seven days to notify BIFF if you wish to pull your film from the festival. If BIFF has not heard from you within seven days of your official selection notification your film will be shown in the festival and you will not be permitted to remove it from the screening schedule. If you have any doubts about your ability to follow through and participate, please be advised of this policy.

• It is the sole responsibility of the Applicant to clear all content of the Film from any and all actual or potential legal claims and issues, including, without limitation, claims based upon theories of libel, defamation, invasion of privacy, violation of rights of publicity, theft of trade secrets, breach of confidence, breach of confidential relationship, and breach of express or implied contract (“Third Party Claim(s)”). BIFF expressly disavows any responsibility for, and will not be held responsible for, any unauthorized inclusion of any content or materials within or relating to the submitted Film that are or may be the basis for any Third Party Claims based upon any of the foregoing legal theories or others. BIFF reserves the right to disqualify, without refund of any or all submission fees previously collected from the Applicant, any film that is or may become the subject of any Third Party Claims. In the event that any Third Party Claim(s) shall be asserted by any person or entity, Applicant shall fully indemnify and defend BIFF and its representatives and affiliates from any liability in connection therewith and from any and all fees and expenses, including but not limited to attorney's fees, that each of any of them may incur in connection therewith.

Overall Rating
  • BFIFF kept me well informed throughout the selection process, and screened three of my Montana made films! MPG Ranch: The Land and Its People won second place and I appreciate the feedback and communication from Steve. I wanted to attend the festival more than any others, but was not able to. Regardless, I felt a part of the process and appreciate a festival that focuses on Montana filmmakers. I would highly recommend submitting to this festival and wish them success as they move forward. Excellent team, thanks guys!

    April 2019
  • Bob Trench

    Truly an amazing festival located in the most beautiful part of the country. It is a rare opportunity to see great films and have discussions with top Hollywood producers in such an intimate setting. This is a festival that will grow and grow over the next few years.

    April 2019
  • Jim Ereaux

    The Bigfork Independent Film Festival was well organized and run. A key attribute of BIFF is the emphasis on Montana film-makers. For many small, independent film-makers it is difficult to get your movies accepted when other festivals are looking for the "best of the best International films". It was very refreshing to find BIFF. BIFF gives fellow Montanans the opportunity to watch both films from Montana film makers and movies about Montana. If fully expect the BIFF year three will be pheonominal!

    April 2018
    Response from festival:

    Thanks Jim. I really appreciate the support we have gotten from filmmakers like you.