Note that submitted films MUST either be made in Montana, or made by Montana filmmakers. If your film doesn't meet one of these two criteria please don't submit it to this festival.

The vision of the Bigfork Independent Film Festival (BIFF) is to actively support Montana filmmakers, along with any films that are made in Montana. We want to honor everyone in Montana who is making films today. Despite small budgets and hectic schedules, these talented artists work hard to put their vision on the screen.

Hardly comparable to 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 festival to include filmmakers from throughout the state of Montana. We also expanded the length of the festival from 1 to 2 days. Most people in Bigfork had never seen a local independent film before, didn't know who the directors or producers were or anything about their movies. It was a unique cinematic experience that the audience enjoyed and wanted more of. Based on the success of the 2018 festival we’re expanding the festival again so that we can show more indie films and provide an interactive workshop for filmmakers who are able to attend in person.

For 2019 we're increasing the length of the festival from 2 to 3 days. Whether your film is a feature, short, documentary or student film here's your opportunity to show it to a supportive audience in a comfortable venue. It's a chance to talk about your film, answer audience questions and perhaps win a cash award for all of your efforts. $2,000 in awards are again being offered to winning films in all categories. The awards include an Audience choice Award, again for all 4 categories.

Your film will be judged by a panel of film enthusiasts, local filmmakers and former Hollywood professionals. If you live 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 a cash award. We are the only film festival that focuses exclusively on Montana films and filmmaking.

You might not think of Montana as a "hotbed" for movie making, but we've found many talented people making all 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.

BIFF will never get as big as Sundance, but we plan to make our mark as a place for movie lovers to celebrate the cinematic arts. Don’t be fooled by the idea of 'local'. We’re proud to offer quality entertainment that's made exclusively in Montana. For 2019 year we will once again be showing a variety of feature, short, documentary, and student films broken up into blocks. Following each block, the filmmaker’s are invited to participate in a live Q&A session to talk about their filmmaking process and to answer any 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 official selections will receive a digital BIFF laurels file.

3rd Annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival April 5, 6 & 7, 2019.

• We encourage submission of shorts, features, documentary, and student films either from Montana filmmakers, or that were 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 Vimeo.com 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 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 standard $10 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 judge'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 will 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.

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  • 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
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    Response from festival:

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

    Steve