The goal of the Bigfork Independent Film Festival (BIFF) is to actively support Montana filmmakers and filmmaking. We are the only film festival in the world that focuses exclusively on Montana filmmaking. Most importantly we want to honor everyone who is making films today in Montana. 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. $1,500 in cash awards are being offered to winning films spread over all 5 categories, and there are Audience Choice Awards for all 5 categories.

For BIFF 2021 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 cash awards, along with Audience Choice awards, will be announced during BIFF. Award winners will be showcased on the BIFF website and the BIFF Facebook page. Screened films receive recognition through the screening schedule. All award winners and official selections receive a digital BIFF laurels file.

• 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, and shorts can be 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 to 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, $40 or $45 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. If selected, your submitted film may be shown at the theater, available to stream online, shown at a partner film festival, or taken out on a promotional roadshow.

• By default, selected films are adjudicated and eligible for all applicable awards. Each submission category has an award, usually including a cash prize, for 1st Place, 2nd Place, and Audience Choice Award (ACA). Judges may introduce special awards under certain circumstances.

• 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 includes 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.


If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail BIFF staff at or call (406) 890-5040.

Overall Rating
  • John Budge

    Many thanks to Steve and the rest of the BIFF staff for taking all the precautions to still have the festival in person this year and do so in a safe way. Our film's shorts block was really solid and I thought it was fun to have fiction and documentary films mixed throughout. Really enjoyed chatting during the Q&A and having the opportunity to tell the story of how Varlet came to be. Many thanks BIFF!

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, John. It was great having you there. I hope we get to show Ruined It at BIFF 2021.

  • Ryan Graham-Laughlin

    Given the circumstances of the pandemic, BIFF did an excellent job of maintaining a clean environment for its guests and filmmakers. The BIFF team was friendly and more then willing to accommodate any of the filmmakers needs. I will definitely submit more work to BIFF in the future.

    October 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thanks, Ryan. We tried our best. We wanted to go through with the festival for the filmmakers as much as the public. Hopefully, things will be a little easier in April, but we'll be ready if they're not.

  • 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.