Our experience at Big Sky. Last February, we took part to the 14th edition of Big Sky. After an endless travel, here we finally come to the gorgeous state of Montana. The snowy mountains, cozy places and uncontamined woods framed a breath-taking sight. Once landed, a driver was waiting for us and in a few minutes he drove us to the hotel.
The rooms which the organization reserved us were warm, large and comfortable. The next morning, after a plentiful breakfast we plunged in the wondrous Missoula. The festival’s opening took place at The Wilma, and was devoted to Steven Fisher’s Bright Lights, produced and distributed by HBO and featuring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. We took the chance to remember the actress Carrie Fisher.
Meetings, stages and theme nights filled every day, which made our stay very pleasant. One memory in particular is worth telling: a night spent in a cabin in the snowy woods; all of the producers, directors and actors stood around the bonfire, chatting about cinema! The festival program was well structured, and the movies were only sorted by genre and nothing more.
This made possible a mix of different durations and would gather competing and non-competing films under the same label, helping people not to necessarily choose. The audience has been the real protagonist of the festival, a constant presence to the projections and very attentive. All Q&As sessions were interesting and involving. HBO partnership contributed to increase the quality and organization level of the festival, making it clear that Big Sky is one of the most important independent festivals in the world and, not by chance, an “Academy qualifying” festival.
The selected works for the contest were all impeccable and never foregone, the competition was truly tight and compelling. Within the numerous events, I want to mention the work-classes which filmmakers held in schools, University and some little towns nearby. The closing night took place at the top floor of the GLR building. The ceremony – resembling Oscars – awarded the best feature, Big Sky Award, best short and best mini doc.
The latter two winners would also gain the opportunity to be selected by the Academy. The awards were given to the winners by Missoula’s mayor himself. For us, that night went on in a few pubs and bars, along with some of the managers of the event. The day after we said goodbye and were ready to leave all the mountains, trees and immense skies behind our backs. An astounding experience that we are sure we’ll live again.