BIGFORK — The 5th annual Bigfork Independent Film Festival gets underway this weekend showcasing 25 Montana made films.
“We started way back in 2017 with just a very small number of films and now we have a 3-day festival and it’s getting bigger,” Bigfork Independent Film Festival Executive Director Steve Shapero tells MTN News.
Empowering Montana filmmakers — that’s what Bigfork Independent Film Festival Executive Director Steve Shapero says the festival aims to accomplish.
“We realized there really was no film festival in Montana or anywhere that focuses on just Montana filmmaking, so I saw a niche and we basically just ran with it, and the Montana filmmakers appreciated that they can come to a small festival like this and not compete with the bigger guys in Sundance,” said Shapero.
Steve said 65 eligible films submitted were sorted down to 25 for the festival, ranging from feature films, to shorts to full length documentaries.
“It’s a wide spectrum, so we have some folks who are student films, so these are folks still in college who are making their first films, we have some directors who have worked in Hollywood before but have decided to stay in Montana, so it’s all over the board,” added Shapero.
One film being showcased at the festival is Jon Decker’s “They Are Gone,” a feature-length documentary focusing on Montana’s crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans.
“I did want to apply to Montana film festivals because I feel this is a very Montanan issue, this problem takes place in native communities all over the country, but I feel Montana’s less removed from native culture than a lot of other states, it’s something that’s still really, I think, culturally present,” said Decker.
Decker hopes his film opens the door for more conservation and truth-seeking regarding this tragedy.
“One thing the film tries to get into is looking at the causes of this because the causes aren’t entirely documented, we don’t really know exactly every factor that’s making people disappear or get killed so often in these communities,” said Decker.
Shapero said the film festival helps highlight Montana films that might otherwise be overlooked. “I thought it would be great to give the Montana folks an opportunity to see their films in front of a Montana audience,” added Shapero.
All 25 films will be showcased Friday through Sunday at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts. The festival will also feature two workshops. More information on how to purchase tickets and showtimes can be found here.